Ghosts: Vietnam War poem by Founding Poet Paul Hellweg, Site founder.   Founding Poet:     PAUL HELLWEG   Copyright 2014

                        The dead from that war so long ago
                        continue to haunt.
                        I wish it were possible to speak with them,
                        but I know not what language,
                        English, Vietnamese, French, or perchance
                        ghosts speak in tongues not understood by the living,
                        boughs whispering in breeze,
                        wind wolves sighing through grasslands,
                        call of redtail hawk.
                        I wish I could understand,
                        I wish one would speak to me, maybe
                        the burned boy who lived nine days, or
                        the gut-shot PFC called upon to endure twenty minutes,
                        or the lucky one, killed instantly, one bullet, one heart.
                        All dwell deep in my skull, reclusive,
                        not coming forth to tell what I want to know.
                        Were one to speak up, he might be angry,
                        having expected a seven-course dinner
                        but served only a mess of pottage,
                        resenting, perhaps, my surviving, and
                        surely questioning the point in coming home intact
                        only to live like the street, without joy,
                        fortified with beer and Scotch,
                        thick with longing,
                        heavy with inertia.

      ( First published in  Proud To Be )

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PAUL HELLWEG   All rights reserved
Frazier Park, California, USA