Sunday, September 25, 2022

ROC '76

We train for war, so that we may live in peace.

photo by Pexels at pixabay.

ROC '76

In stony silence,
in fits of exhaustion,
we hunched & huddled
in the blood-red mud
& watched the 81s opened up
punishing the hills beyond the ridge.
Not for us the adage of glory and country
but faraway images of home,
a beer, a shower, & a woman to cuddle.

We hunched together
waiting, in a fine drizzle
that coiled around the blue hills,
the final manoeuvre of the battle,
as a haze of gun-smoke and diesel
washed over our tired bodies.
Somewhere to the east,
defiant GPMGs chattered.

As rivulets of rain
flowed down dented helmets
to sweat stained brows,
we struggled with a last smoke.
(have you tried lighting a wet cigarette ?)
We heaved ourselves up
laden with packs and
weapons and fatigue
and coaxed tired limbs
in mud-caked boots
to trudge a final kilometre to base.

written 09/04/1988
revised 05/10/2011

Rosemary at Poets & Storytellers United wanted us to share our musings on war and/or peace.

U2 - Bullet The Blue Sky

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2022

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Blogger colleen said...

Sound like this was written by someone who knows or was there. Made me think of my dad in WWII. So much to be unconformable about.

25 September, 2022 01:18  
Blogger Helen said...

I had a visceral reaction to your poetry ... memories flooded back. The father of my children in Vietnam, his college roommate killed in combat, their fear, the real terror that is war, then and now. You made it real.

25 September, 2022 02:02  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


Thank you!
I was there. Technology has taken over some of the fighting now, but boots are still needed on the ground. :)


Thank you for the comment.
What I described in the poem was just a training exercise.
My salute to all who have served for their countries.

25 September, 2022 12:30  
Blogger rallentanda said...

I am glad you survived it all...harrowing poem. Time now to cuddles and write poetry !

25 September, 2022 14:10  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Thank you, Rall!

mostly poetry now. 😁

25 September, 2022 19:02  
Anonymous Rajani said...

Glad it was just a training exercise...sounds very real though. Wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where neither training nor war was necessary... sigh.

26 September, 2022 12:56  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Thank you, Rajani!

Yes, glad it was just a training exercise. In an ideal world, there will be no militaries and wars, but conflicts had been going on since ancient times. Right now, how many conflicts are ongoing? Ukraine, Ethiopia, Yemen...

26 September, 2022 20:29  
Blogger Magaly Guerrero said...

This one brings Wilfred Owen's "Dulce Et Decorum Est" to mind. My own war days, too. A strangely vivid feeling... to write and read and remember war, isn't it?

28 September, 2022 20:53  
Blogger Rommy said...

You have such a strong style of writing that really transports the reader. Amid all the wonderfully described details, the longing for the simple pleasures of life stands out.

28 September, 2022 22:11  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


Thank you!
I think Wilfred Owen's "Dulce Et Decorum Est" is one of the best anti-war poems there is. Yes, it's a strange feeling, to write and read and remember war but i think that's something we must do. To have peace, the peace in the environment and the peace inside us.
It's always good to talk to a fellow ex-soldier. :)


Thank you!
In the end, for everything we do, we are just longing for the simple pleasures of life. :)

29 September, 2022 00:21  
Blogger Su-sieee! Mac said...

My dad joined the army in Hawaii at the start of WWII. The guys who worked on the sugar plantations were allowed to leave. Daddy was no longer working the sugarcane at the time. He said, while laughing, he wished he said he had been because training was so tough.

29 September, 2022 01:01  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Thank you, Su-sieee.
Thanks for relating the story of your dad. He did not evade the draft went on to serve. And in the course help to shape the political landscape of the planet.

29 September, 2022 14:00  
Blogger said...

I can feel that stony silence. It lives on in my husband.

30 September, 2022 08:42  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Thank you, Sara.
Oh, the things old soldiers carry... :(

30 September, 2022 10:31  

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