VIETNAM VETERAN, a poem by Paul Churton Bownas, Australia from



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VIETNAM VETERAN, a poem by Paul Churton Bownas, Australia


Veterans Poems & War Poetry

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Paul Churton Bownas, Australia



Some medal ribbons from Long Tan,
a four-wheel drive and a caravan.
His roaming travels never cease,
though all he seeks is quiet and peace.
His hair is long and mainly grey,
he takes prescriptions every day.
If you try to have a chat with him,
he sits there with a face that's grim.
He listens now to what you say,
but you know his mind is far away.
He wasn't always down like that,
he used to smile and laugh and chat.
He used to grin and be upbeat -
till he got booed in Flinders Street,
when, marching with his comrades there,
he saw his own folk didn't care!

He'd done what he was told to do,
no carry-on or bally-hoo;
he hadn't asked to be sent there,
he'd simply gone to do his share;
but sometimes he can still see scenes
of bombs, and flares, and jungle greens -
he lost five hundred mates up there.
his hair now grey that once was fair,
his brow more creased, his face more lined,
he tries to think of happy times;
but happy times have passed him by,
and now he only sits and cries.
His wife has tried to comfort him,
she gets his pills and other things;
then, while he's lying there asleep,
she sneaks outside, to have a weep.

Instead of honour he deserved,
from this great country that he served,
all he got then were snarls and curses;
the thing that made it really worse is
the government that sent him there
should be so thoughtless, so unfair,
to dump him in his hour of need -
as change in politics decreed!
So, when you see that caravan
with medal ribbons from Vietnam,
then show that man some deep respect -
not ignorance or cruel neglect;
for he deserves your admiration,
and grateful thanks from this - his nation.

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Responses from Visitors and Members about this Poem
FromComment about poem or authorResponse CountryResponse Added
Jacinta RamayahPaul, you put your heart and soul into this poem and came up with a winner. I had goose bumps when I read this .... shows how outstanding your poem is. Congratulations! Hope to see more of your poems.Malaysia9/23/2011 10:28:30 AM
Lynne ColgraveA noble poem Paul - words which needed to be written and read in honour of all veterans. I felt very moved by it as I read. Congratulations for this winning poem.UK9/22/2011 3:57:34 AM
Dwayne RankinPaul, A moving poem of epic proportions for sure. So well written, that I could see this man as he struggles with life. I could hear his wife as she goes outside to weep. I could hear the jeers and the taunts that are flung his way. With style and grace you've penned the Vietnam Vets plight as he comes home to an uncaring and ungrateful nation. Well written and a deserved winner. Congratulations sir.USA9/19/2011 7:39:06 PM
Dwayne RankinChurton, A moving poem of epic proportions for sure. So well written, that I could see this man as he struggles with life. I could hear his wife as she goes outside to weep. I could hear the jeers and the taunts that are flung his way. With style and grace you've penned the Vietnam Vets plight as he comes home to an uncaring and ungrateful nation. Well written and a deserved winner. Congratulations sir.USA9/19/2011 7:37:48 PM
Taurai MutotiIts surely a great write that is so emotional. Here in Zimbabwe and other former British colonies, many of those who fought for the Crown in WW II are now destitutes with no recognition from either the current governments or the former colonial master. And like you wrote, they only did what they were told. You deserve to win Paul. Thanks for sharing.Zimbabwe9/19/2011 12:11:17 AM
shane richardsan amazing poem paul, all those who go to war for their country deserve respect. I like the way, in this poem you describe what the veteran had to endure, and how war had aged him, a compelling story indeed, you really deserve your win. well done to youUK9/18/2011 9:41:41 PM
Marcia SchechingerPaul congratulations for winning the August 2011 Poetry contest on Voicesnet. Again as I reread this poem, I am humbled before such a man or woman who fought at such a young age in Viet Nam. They, minimumly, should have come home heroes and in my eyes they always will be. Again God bless all who have or are serving their countries. Congratulations Paul, a very well deserved win.USA9/18/2011 8:59:36 PM
Gail KayCongratulations Paul on a wonderful poem. I believe it could be relevant in any country after any war regardless of which one: WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, the list goes on and on up to the present....Peace is bought and paid for in blood and courage. Thanks for posting this. LEST WE FORGET!Australia9/18/2011 6:54:27 PM
VoicesNet NewsAn incredible poem! Congratulations to the winner!USA9/18/2011 6:25:29 PM
vasiliki Savvidou-MihalareaContradictory feelings one gets when reading this lovely poem. It makes us think about war. One moment you are a hero( for some) the next moment you are a curse( for others)GREECE8/31/2011 10:11:26 AM
Nishu Mathurwonderfully articulated ...true but sad..warm regards Nishu India8/7/2011 3:34:22 AM
Elizabeth SquiresHello Paul,this poem is an all too true account of our return Australian servicemen who went to Vietnam.An admirable write my friend!Cheers Elizabeth.Australia8/6/2011 4:40:51 PM
Marcia SchechingerThank you Paul, I lost many friends in Viet Naum. Your poem of the reality of war and describing the truth of those who were physically saved should be known and told to the world. God bless all troops who are fighting for their countries this day. USA8/6/2011 1:29:18 PM
Danny CoonMy Ex-Wife's Dad was a Veitnam Vet - From right in the thick of it - I've learned a lot from his stories and thoughts - Very nicely done - very, very good - Thanks for this - dannyUSA8/6/2011 12:41:48 PM
Richard GildeaHello Paul, All servicemen and women who are embroiled in conflict which their political masters deem a 'failure' are summarily erased from history. To come back home to abuse is particularly sad. These are people who are prepared to put their lives on the line in defence of their own country should the need arise. Where will the abusers be when the call to arms is sounded to protect their own land. You have told the tale of how the horrors of war can change a life forever and effect personality change which puts pressure on relationships. Servicemen and women do not yearn for medals or reward, a little acknowledgement of their sacrifices would not go amiss whether they are conscript or volunteer. "But sometimes he can still see scenes" thank the Lord most people never experience the nightmares. Thank you Paul, God Bless your caring heart, Richard UK8/6/2011 11:43:00 AM
T. S.What you wrote is so true sorry to say. Thanks for sharingUSA8/6/2011 11:09:03 AM
Elizabeth OlesenPaul, this is a very fine tribute to our Veterans of war. Their life,when neglected by the government that sent them out, is really a tragic one. Thanks for writing this narrative "ballad" I should say. I wish this could be made into a song, a voice to society's conscience. Great work of art, Paul! Thanks.Denmark8/6/2011 10:52:17 AM


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