Pain and sorrow, mingled with hate

In a land of unseen enemies

A frightened, camouflaged soldier sneaks through the brush.


Practiced ears sense an unwelcome intruder.

The soldier quietly turns toward the presence.

He awaits another move with bated breath.


His heart pounds with fear and excitement.

"Will this be my next kill

Or my last night in Country?"


Then Charlie steps into the moonlight.

With quickened breath and racing heart

The American raises his weapon and shoots death.


The American won, if that is possible in war.

Yet all he feels is loneliness, grief and pain.

He lets out a shattering scream of frustration.


The scream wakes him thirty years later.

But still the feelings of pain and loneliness -

And the frustration, always the frustration.


He heaves a tired, tearful sigh and tries to forget.




(Leah Bishop is a 27 year old wife and mother from Booneville, Mississippi. Although she was born just as the war was 'finishing', she became interested in the Vietnam War while a senior at school. This poem was written 10 years ago as part of a paper on P.T.S.D., for which she got an A+. She was, by the way, told that she shouldn't cover this subject because she was 'a girl'. From one who was there Leah, although an Aussie not an American, I say thank you. I know what those dreams are like - John)