I wrote a letter home last week,
Can't remember if it was sent,
Did I put it in the out-going mail,
Or leave it inside the tent.

I'm sure I told them that I was OK,
Of the palm trees, the beautiful sky,
I told of the rain-the stifling heat,
Said hello from the other guys.
I didn't talk of the anguish,
Of seeing a comrade fall,
The tears that fall late at night,
The futility of it all.

I told of the beautiful flowers,
The mountains, long and wide,
I didn't talk of the waiting death,
That stalks the countryside.

The long boring hours of waiting,
When we lie perfectly still,
Alert to the presence of enemy,
Wondering who will be killed.

The jasmin blooms at the plantation,
Their soft smell fills the air,
But the home now stands in shambles,
For no one lives there to care.

These are the things I dare not write,
As I lay in the jungle so deep,
And strain to hear the smallest sound,
Although I should try to sleep.

The sudden roar, the blinding light,
As explosions rip the night apart,
The constant noise of rifle fire,
The pounding of my heart.
The fight lasts only for minutes,
Though hours seem to go on,
We see the waste of human life,
In the gray mist of early dawn.

The deafening silence that follows,
The smell of gunpowder in the air,
As smoke drifts lazily through the trees,
I can see that the team is still there.

Someone once said that war is hell,
If only he had truly known,
But I tell my loved ones that all is fine,
In the letter I think I mailed home.

What has it been now, thirty years?,
Since I stalked the jungle deep,
Sometimes I still hear the gun fire,
That shatters my fitfull sleep.

The faces of friends before me,
Appear like ghosts in the night,
To calm me with these quiet words,
"Sleep in peace--everything's all right".

Now I have written my letter again,
And walk to the mailbox in the dawn,
The sun is rising on a brand new day,
And the letter that I'm sending home.

    Edward L. Morgan
       April 10, 1995