Friday, February 19, 2010

A Poem for a Vietnam Veteran Nurse, written by my daughter

In October of 2006, I posted on my original version of this blog

For My Aunt, A Thank You to an Army Nurse Corps Vietnam Veteran

Several weeks ago, my daughter told us she needed to write a 'commissioned' work of poetry as an assignment for her English class.
The 'commission' I gave her was to write a poem for my aunt Lynn about her service in Vietnam.

Here is the poem April wrote for her great-aunt Lynn:


From August 1967
To August 1968
My nursing skills brought me
To the war of Vietnam

Located on the coast
Near the village of Phu Hiep
I worked to mend
The wounded that came in

It was the 91st Evac
With concrete slabs and tin
Constructing our little houses
For us to live this war in

To be silly, and give some cheer
I acquired some paint
To make my room walls
An ugly shade of pink

Choppers come overhead
Bring with it many injured
Some won't survive
and some reach us already dead

The Napalm wounds hurt more
Than just those hit
Because then those burned
Come to our burn unit

A nurse can't be on that ward
For more than one day
Because our emotional toll
Would be one so great

To our burn tank, they'd be soaped up
Doped up on medication
To help with the pain of their skin
Being peeled off

But there were little things
that were rewarding to us
One of those rewards
Was a child named Bao

He looked six months
But was really two
Someone from a village
Brought him, because he was ill

He was malnourished,he wouldn't eat
An infection in his mouth
Hydrogen peroxide
was the simple cure

He stayed with us for months
And started being able to eat
His infection was gone
And he was growing strong

Then one day we stood him up
And he began to move his feet
He was walking on his own
That moment was rewarding for me

One emotional, tiring year
And then I got to come home
I prayed as the plane took off
To get back safe

It took three extra days
To get back into the States
But my frustration left me
When I saw my husband at the plane gate

I don't speak of it much
Except the stories that get a laugh
Because not many people
Understand the stories that are bad

They ask "How'd you like it?"
A ridiculous question
With all the things I saw
Who could like things like that?

Most people don't understand
What it was like being over there
Burn tanks, working on the wounded
And all the emotional parts of war

However, if I had to
I'd do it all again
For that one year of my life
That I was in the War in Vietnam
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