Stand To (poem)
By Rick Harrienger
Stand to, but whispered, stand to
When every sense was brought to bear
We stretched to know the morning's air
Nerves not strong were shattered
Stand to. Selector switch caressed like braille
each tick of time a separate tale. We willed
the dawn to no avail; and nothing, nothing mattered
Stand to. When in the silence breathing's loud
cursing exhalations cloud; should war erupt
would dad be proud? Will I survive the latter?
Stand to. Altho the curse of morning's rain
when every sense is stretched and strained
the clicker of the sentry's plain...
Or was that Charlie's clacker?
Stand to. For all of those who've left us now
It's we who show the others how
the subtleties of surviving now
that's all that really matters.
We opened "c's" so quietly
while digging foxholes frantically
and saddled up the nights O.P.s
The silence growing fatter.
Stand down. Weary from the mountain climb
the commo check go's down the line;
a letter read a final time
the mist as thick as batter.
Stand down. Fatigue that few have ever known
weariness of every bone
the single thought...to make it home
the luxury of water!
Stand down. The mud that kept mosquitoes off
the blessed ground that's almost soft
the drone of casper high aloft
no doubt which side I'd rather.
Stand down. Squad by squad we're dusted off
back to beds with pillows soft
a chance to grieve the ones we'd lost
and trounce the whores who flatter.
Stand down again stand down.
Bring solace to each other
Take an honest look around
and see where each of us is bound.
Let not our lot be six feet down
I'm begging you my brother.
We've come too far
to die in vain, despite our anguish
and our pain
Count not your loss; instead your gain
and doubt and fear will scatter.