In War’s on Foreign Shore

  • The men, the boys, gave up their toys,
  • not knowing what lay ahead. In field of grain;
  • they lay where slain;
  • no time to bury dead.

In War’s on Foreign Shore

What will you tell, those who fell
in war’s on foreign land?
In pride they died, a nation cried,
now in grandeur stands.

Could you say, it was the way,
of freedom to repent?
To weep and cry, for those who die:
friend’s in battle spent.

Through muck and mire, they tire
then fall upon their face;
with mud caked grin, get up again;
march on to set the pace.

Bloodshot eyes, rain filled skies,
the weather took its toll;
beaten minds, all were signs,
torn bodies, battered souls.

Fox holes – homes, fingers – combs,
helmets – a bath:
professional men, this veteran
soldier’s plied their craft.

Breathing hard, bodies charred;
hopes began to crust.
Booby traps, they slept with rats;
lungs filled with dust.

Days were damp, legs would cramp,
fever ran askew.
Blank eyes stared, a packaged shared,
with everyone who knew.

Blinding lights, blasts through the night,
in ditches they would hide.
Voices gruff, faces rough,
comrades side by side.

Sleepless nights, engaged in fights;
‘round heads the bullets scream:
walk then run, with pack and gun,
drink from their canteen.

Gristl’d men whose passions wept,
tears that stained a humbled heart:
Men in battle grew, some love never knew;

The men, the boys, gave up their toys,
not knowing what lay ahead.
In field of grain; they lay where slain;
no time to bury dead.

Blood and gore, flesh that tore;
the bodies of these men.
Memories of pain, life drained,
could never be whole again.

Sex, drugs dope, the only hope,
to escape this blasphemy:
The people smiled, so self styled;
they were the enemy.

Physically maimed, no man gained;
impairment touched every one.
Mentally doomed, their fate was groomed;
no refuge in which to run.

Orders received, were preconceived
their foe must not fall.
Was it a crime? they were just biding time:
this wasn’t their war at all.

How did it end, what was the trend,
what lessons were learned well?
Of greed and lust, no nation trust
exactly what is hell?

Some men dreamed, some men screamed,
in protest on the street:
Some men fled, some men bled,
few turned out to greet.

Those left to live; what did we give,
the men returned to life?
The page was torn, this nation scorned;
those who gave everything to fight.

The men whose waste, the bitter taste;
of wars’ true fallacy:
The path that winds through idle minds;
leads to complacency.

So I ask, when will the task,
lead me through yonder door?
To meet those who cried, fought and died,
In War’s on Foreign shore.

Jay Shaw

OSCS Retired (1963-1984). 

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