And So I Went To War

What happened to us when we were young
When I was scared about to go to war
And leave the warmth of kin and home
For battlefields far flung and stain the dirt
Beneath my boots with blood and gore?
You dropped me like a stone in muddy water
Left me in despair, left me hanging in thin air
No tender words to calm my nerves
No passioned kiss to still my fears
Nor prayer nor long embrace to say goodbye
And yearn with promise to be true till my return
Instead you turned your back and walked away
As if it didn’t matter come what may
As if my heart was just for you
To break in two and shatter
I once believed our love would last forever
With bonds that even dying could not sever
But now I know believing’s just for dreamers
And thanks to you I finally learned my lesson
That lovers never last but for a season
That young men kill and die in distant lands
Without a noble cause or valid reason
While damsels safe at home find other lovers
And so I went to war with gun in hand
Buried childish dreams beneath the sand
And in the midst of strife and stinking squalor
Became a soldier boy and there I loved another

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Bill Peeler

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My wife, Noy and I are Protestant missionaries in Cambodia. We met in a border refugee camp in Thailand back in 1979 while I was a refugee relief worker. She was a refugee. I lived and worked in Mairut Refugee Camp for three years. We have three grown kids. I was drafted into the Army in 1969, served in Vietnam from 1970 to 1971 and honorably discharged at the end of my military obligation. Writing prose and poetry is how I document the life I'm living and how I map out the mental landscape inside my head.
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