A Soldier's Vow

by Mary Wacaster

Rice paddies are steaming,
(Lord, what am I doing here?)
The jungle is so hot!
I crawl upon my belly with scorpions,
Snakes, and the jungle rot.
The days are without end.
Another flash of gun fire.
I swear I will neither bend
Nor burn upon the enemy's pyre.

I count bodies scattered right and left
Wounded and dead.
I sicken deep, to the depth of my soul,
From the deadly lead.
I look deep into each eye
That with life still glows,
Listening for the breathless sigh
As life slowly goes.

This giving is the blood, life,
And soul of my country unblemished;
We serve, as one, with all striving
Not to leave unfinished
This heritage our fathers raised.
Because our heritage is free
I'll neither leave it unpraised
Nor soiled freedom see.

This land upon which my blood does flow
Will weep as I wept as my blood was shed.
This land will then forever know
Theirs will die, as mine are dead.