Unfinished for Ernie – © 1972

A dramatic poem about dying in battle, that came true.

One day I sat down to write a poem with my buddy Ernie. Just another day in Vietnam. He knew I wrote poetry and wished he could write something like that. So we collaborated on this piece. He came up with the ideas, and I would forge the words. He was really looking forward to having an original poem he could send home to his family. We had really gotten into the swing of it when he got called up for a ‘Contact Team’. That was the last time I ever saw Ernie. He never came back. They came and inventoried his gear a few days later.

I never finished the poem – it’s Ernie’s.

Unfinished for Ernie – © 1972

We left our homes and families
To join the wondrous Corps.
And not once did we think we were
To join the wondrous war.
We traveled ‘cross the foreign seas.
Not once did they imply
That, as we walked one fateful day,
Most of our guys would die.
We talked ‘bout war and death and pain.
How not a tear we’d cry.
Not knowing later that same day,
In anguish we would lie.

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