The ghost of the Iroquois flies at night, invades his restless dreams
It's thumping blade precede his flight, so real it nearly screams.
Tunnels dark and dank with fear, traversed within his head
beyond his dreams it scarcely seems an end could come to dread.
For 'Uncle Ho' and the yellow foe - they yet remain his plight
he thrashes out in deep despair, still desperate in the fight.
He can't escape the grim abyss that's been his home too long -
the cries of blasted, bloodied mates - for him his only song.
In dead of night their screams he hears - tears in to save a mate
too late to change, by thirty years, his cataclysmic fate.
The M16's his Mistress, she alone can quell his dread...
just she and comrades long now dead can climb into his head.
The battle fields of Nui Dat, the Hell that was Long Tan
have claimed the soul of this empty shell - that once was known as man.
For Phoc Tuy Province claimed it's prize way back in sixty nine...
this Tunnel Rat of RAE will never more be mine.
The army taught it's lesson: Price - a tragic list of names
the 'pawns of war' to sacrifice, as Masters played their games.
'Search and destroy' the cry went out - and men rose to the call -
Guerilla forces weakened as these soldiers gave their all.
With ANZAC pride of other wars, they charged straight into hell
while politicians fought their cause - a different tale to tell.
'Sensitive politically' would help conceal the truth...
a land a'flood with Aussie blood - the martyrdom of youth.
They brought them home in midnight flights - young men with souls aflame
Veterans of 'the War that's lost' - it had no other name.
Defeat it seeped from every pore, the stench was rancid sweet...
it told the tale of their betrayal to fools on civvy street.
No 'Home Parade for Heroes' met return from Vietnam
just flak in pubs and bars and clubs for being in the scam.
The khaki, once so proudly worn, became a flag of scorn
for AAP and Reuters had denounced the legend born.
Demobbed, the khaki shed for good, I'd hoped you'd come to stay;
I thought somehow I understood, but from that fateful day
exhausted, you sat up all night... to keep the dreams at bay...
The Iroquois' ghost came then in spite - and named your price to pay.
Your days in brooding silence spent, friend bourbon in your hand
sole occupant and jealous guard of dark and barren land...
the devil called the Viet Cong sat vigil at your gate...
that demon barred my way therein - t'was he who sealed my fate.
Rare 'windows' to your soul appeared - the bottom of the glass -
and then you'd let me look, I feared, at what I couldn't pass...
as you knocked another bourbon back you'd talk of deeds you'd done
and then I knew - the end is black - my battle can't be won.
No solace left, the dregs all gone - Jim Beam has done his job;
but burdens shared have not moved on the wild and angry mob
of phantoms thirsting for the kill - they still invade your head
It's weary, spent and lonely still, you take me to your bed.
As you eased along the tunnels, torch and pistol in your hand
you came to me in nights of dread to claim your wedding band.
Too glad, I welcomed your embrace, your gentle intercourse,
but fires of hate your soul encase - you took me then with force.
For memories flooded back to you of far off Vung Tau bars
where solace taken in the arms of pretty girls with stars
in eyes of black with depths unseen - took pay for where you'd been
the forward scout who goes ahead - and seeks to intervene.
You'd learned to trust in daylight hours - took solace there from fright;
that Village girl, your friend by day - turned Viet Cong by night...
you learned the lesson bloody well - to treat love with mistrust -
you made my life a tortured hell for everything unjust.
You took me on a guided tour - I've walked the 'Halls of Hell'...
run the gauntlet underground, and dodged the mortar shell.
It's I who've held a dying mate, wishing it was me,
and I who've been a forward scout, suspecting every tree..
But more than you I've borne the price - for me no help exists -
no band of understanding men - for me the War persists...
For me no need of ANZAC Day recalling those who served...
My ANZAC Day is every day - my price is undeserved.
The Ghost of the Iroquois haunts my nights... my days... and in between
with mortar shells in Killing Fields YOU say I haven't seen...
My napalmed heart, with love bereft, is burning out my dreams...
My passion's spent... I've nothing left...an empty shell it seems...
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