Thursday, December 4, 2008

Poetry Vietnam 9

The Killer Landmine
(Made in USA)

Under a spreading bamboo patch
The killer landmine hides;
The mine—set to go at a snatch—
With prongs at all its sides;
And the powders of its mighty charge
Are cruel as Death itself.

Its shell is hard, and black, and round;
Its form is sleek and sound;
It’s meant to burst and bang and hurt,
So snug it’s in the dirt;
And it waits so long for that step
From which no leg can skirt.

Day in, day out, from light to night,
You sense its presence loom;
You can sense it as it lays in wait,
With fuses set to bloom;
A tinder box under the hot sun,
When at noon broiled sunrays zoom.

And soldiers humping to and fro
Look round and round and round;
They ache to rest their straining eyes,
And drink and breathe their sighs,
And sit on solid ground that’s bald—
Such sites with no place to hide.

It lays all day to have its way
With friends in rows so straight;
It loves to screen the coming troops,
And witness their death’s gait,
The grunts alert and feeling gay,
Know not it’s now too late.

Boom! Boom!! Boom!!! Boom!!!! All’s tossed up high;
You can see some body parts;
You can see the men crouched with sighs,
Some others pumping stopped hearts;
The mine’s no more; the legs no more,
What’s left is just the blood and gore.

12 October 1997

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