Hard Medicine  (SweetLand Storytellers performs “Voices from the Vietnam War  in North Country High Schools as the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia begins)

Note to readers: This poem written in 1999 is for me filled with echoes and ironies born right now out of the Russian war on Ukraine. I pray for peace.

All week we stand in high school auditoriums
repeating the stories of an old war
triggering in the chests of invited aging veterans
the pain of dying men, lost children sobbing.
They meet us afterward, tell their stories
All week the breaking news—new bombings
new anger herding entire cities
of frightened families into boxcars,
caravans of refugees massing
at the borders.
All week the rumors–
rape, mutilation, murder,
more mass graves.
All week we repeat our stories to children whose brothers,
            uncles, fathers are shipping out, are already there,
            children who go pale, sink into their seats
or shift, snort and poke each other
to shut us out.
                                                            4/15/99

3 comments

  1. These poems out of Vietnam are published now with stunning, resounding resonance echoing into the speechless terror happening in Ukraine. Such a blessing to receive words that capture the realities and sorrow of war as we watch, helpless. As we look through the lens of history from the beginning of time, these waves come through in cycles. We live, we remember, we die, we forget, we live, we remember, we die, we forget. Massive loss, collective destruction and shattering, collective weeping watering the blood soaked soil, birthing a new ethic, a stronger collective conscience?

    Liked by 1 person

    • thank you Rachel! & re: a stronger collective conscience (& consicousness!)–I pray this may be happening, but it’s so remarkably the same same same as that war that ended 49 years ago, and the first Gulf war that came and went 31 years ago, and the permawar that started after 9/11 still ongoing, that I’m wondering and wondering if I’ll ever feel the arc toward justice is bending and we’re making real progress toward peace. Though there’s no stopping acting in the world for Justice & Peace.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, here we are again. The horror.

    On Mon, Mar 14, 2022 at 4:48 PM Singing Frog Press wrote:

    > SingingFrogPress posted: ” Note to readers: This poem written in 1999 is > for me filled with echoes and ironies born right now out of the Russian war > on Ukraine. I pray for peace. All week we stand in high school > auditoriumsrepeating the stories of an old wartriggering in the” >

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s