Poetry - Tiger Battalion

A Track, Nui Thi Vai, October 1966

Deep in the shadows, where everything is green,
More shadows play around, than I've ever seen;
I just search for the difference, and hope there is none,
It will stay this way, till we're back, in the sun.

A word's rarely spoken; it's all done by hand,
Simply survival, in this part of the land;
From the contacts we've had and the camps we have found,
We know that we're hunting on "Charlies' " home ground.

A dew covered trip wire, strung through the grass,
I mark it quite clearly, and then quickly pass;
There's "Jumping Jacks” here, lying close underground,
Tread wearily now, and don't make a sound.

I keep telling myself, it's all in my head,
But, if a bastard goes off, God let me be dead;
Strange rocks ahead and the track's dipping down,
My head starts screaming - A Killing Ground!

There's dozens of Panjis, in the scrub on each side,
One single shot and there's nowhere to hide;
So bugger the orders we’re getting off the track,
If "Charlies" there waiting, we'll come in at his back.

The twigs and the leaves crunch at my feet,
And the cold sweats keep coming, despite the heat;
Armalite held a little too tight, sweeping around, instantly ready,
But it's my bloody head that I fight to keep steady.

It's not far now, till the end of my bound,
Then another poor bastard can sweat the next round.


© Terry Tommasi
C Company Vietnam 1st Tour

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