Scars- An Anti-Vietnam War Poem + Reflection

Essay by AlloniaJunior High, 9th gradeB+, August 2009

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Poem- My number came up before I turned 20And I said my goodbyesThinking back to the mud and bloodon the day they sent me to VietnamI arrived on a night surrounded by a jungle silent andstill,Then..

Crash! Crack! Boom!Mortars hitting with a sloshing clatter.

Bodies falling for no real reasonMy Sarge yells"Look for your targets! But in the dark jungle it ain't easy!"Behind every bush may be a target..

… but maybe not"That man in the field may be an innocent farmer..

… but maybe notThe VC spend their money on bullets not uniformsAnd we're in their backyard uninvitedAnd unwelcomeWho were we fighting, why were we fightingWhat's the cause?There won't be any winners in this warJust Infinite bloodshed and tears for allThe unlucky come home early to be laid to restUs lucky ones return two years later often with scars you cannot seeBy Jake RadowskiReflectionWhen I was given this task of writing a poem of relating to issues raised in poems by Bruce Daw/Oodgeroo Noonuccal I considered my context as a young Australian and tried to figure out which issues related closest to my heritage and background.

I decided to write about the Vietnam War which has been a topic in several of Bruce Daw's poems. I have a couple of reasons for this; First is that my dad was close to being drafted in the Vietnam War, but he was lucky as Gough Whitlam came into power and abolished conscription, in addition he seems to know a lot about the Vietnam War for that very reason. Secondly and not so closely related but which I thought had some relevance was how my grandfather was in Poland during World War II and survived a concentration camp, his story has relevance as his country was invaded for no particular reason just as Vietnam was.

My attitude to the Vietnam War has grown to be very opposed to the war, and I am now asking a lot of questions to knowledgeable people about why the war even started and if America's reasons for going in to the war were true or not.

I settled that I am going to write a poem about the issues raised in the Vietnam War. Thee several issues that I thought were most important to raise are:The Australian conscription draft;The Soldiers never knowing if who they were killing in the villages and jungles were VC or innocent Vietnamese as they did not just simply wear black and white hats;The point of how some soldiers did not feel right about invading s country they knew nothing about and which had done nothing to them as well as the unknown cause they were fighting for.

In my poem I have been aiming for my reader to experience a sombre tone and mood as close as I can to what a soldier may have been feeling & experiencing.

The difficulties that I experienced in my poem were aplenty; Firstly, trying to construct the poem in a way suitable for performance poetry and choosing suitable words to add dramatic effect was hard. The reason I felt this was that my poem was at first too political and didn't have much substance or story that was being told.

In evaluating my poem I think I have done a reasonable job of getting my point across to the reader and letting them feel in some sense of what it was like in Vietnam, and how terrible and pointless the bloodshed was in this war.

One improvement that I could have made was to be more successful in my language choices, as the poem seemed to lack in alliteration/assonance and similes.

I think that my actual interest in the Vietnam War subject itself has helped me to write this reasonably successful poem.

In conclusion I think that I send an understandable yet striking message across to my readers about the terrible war that was Vietnam.