A New Journey Begins: Vietnam War poem by Founding Poet Paul Hellweg, Site founder.   Founding Poet:     PAUL HELLWEG   Copyright 2016
  A New Journey Begins

                        October 13, 2013, Year of the Snake,
                        Independence Palace, Si Gn.
                        Poet of my heart and I
                        attend memorial services
                        General V Nguyn Gip
                        national icon, last surviving war hero
                        the man who led Vietnam to victory over
                        both France and the United States.

                        Cast of hundreds, only one Westerner,
                        soon I'm the media's favorite son.
                        Flashes popping, television camera rolling
                        I sign condolence book.
                        I'm all memory and desire, war and peace.
                        My mind races, distracted, searching,
                        nouns and verbs, adjectives and adverbs,
                        language defines, language delineates,
                        language limits love.

                        "Thank you for bringing peace to my beloved Vietnam"
                        appears on the page before me, and
                        forty-year-old perceptions shift.
                        I am no longer able to maintain control,
                        I know it has begun.
                        Truth and the courage to speak it have arrived.
                        I apologize for self and country on national television.
                        The Vietnamese accept, they thrived after the war.
                        T.S. Eliot wrote there is fear in a handful of dust.
                        Looking out the window, I see
                        rain coming and a nymph returning.
                        I am ready now to board the railway train
                        children and poets so adore.

For Kim Ngn

( First published in  Gargoyle #64 )

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