He stands not with me at death

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The following poem from the Vietnam war goes out to all those vets (from any war) that made it good in accounting.

He stands not with me at death.

He stands not with me at death,
At lad his voice a high shill,
Broken knees, silly smiles,
Skull cropped with hairy nil.

So high he moved the swing,
Low down, kings no care,
Toes up to spray the sky,
Heels down air-to-air.

Hop-a-top he said, pop,
A whoop and a resound,
He's off the swing aloft,
To land just upside down.

The war took my son today,
It's just that way, Macbeth.
So life is now but-of-needs,
Hardly had he one breath!

Peel back the soiled sheets
Shows this old man is less,
My skin drags me to rest,
He stands not with me at death.

David E. Burt, ©2005

David Burt served abroad a Navy riverboat operating in the Mekong Delta, 1967-8. He now lives in So. Cal.

This poem centers on a father who laments that his son has died first and will not be there as he dies.  It traces the boy from youth until he lands "just upside down" and taken by the war.


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