To Turn Into Soldiers

by James Snydal

On television, Cronkite was wondering
"I thought we were winning the war." As Lyndon ordered
bombing strikes, our men in Hue were ducking
for cover while firing at enemies who stood

behind those ancient walls. The chief of our friends'
police shot down a bound prisoner
point-blank on television news (those men
would still be remembered together by many after

almost 30 years). Out on the Mekong
Delta, one of our soldiers glanced at a ruin,
a village yesterday— "We had to destroy
it in order to save it." As our men in choppers machine-

gunned peasants running in rice paddies, one
guy made an excuse— "If he's running, he must
be a Viet Cong!" Meanwhile, Lyndon called
for the deaths of whole cities, using bombers.

As he called for the deaths of cities, using bombers,
he told American kids to turn into soldiers.

About the Author:
James Snydal is a Vietnam veteran living in Bainbridge Island, Washington. Over 116 of his poems have been published in journals and anthologies in the United States, Canada and England. His latest book which is a collection of poetry called "Near The Cathedral" is available through Dry Bones Press in San Francisco.