The Kremlinís Vietnam

Ivan,
You donít look so terrible
Standing out here
On the wild frontier
Waiting for something horrible
To happen to you
At the hands of the Mujadhadeen.

Itís blistering hot, freezing cold,
The blazing sun
And nightís chill
Leave you not bold
But broken in spirit
And contemptuous of war.

Ivan,
Moscow in the Spring,
Think of that. Your young woman.
Your mother. Perhaps your children.
You are here suffering
While they sit and worry about you.

What care you for Imperialist domination
And for the obsessions of hateful old men
In soundproof rooms
Who plot and scheme the end of freedom
Aloof from humanity,
Impervious to pain,
Oblivious to suffering
And misery?
What care you for the Manifesto?
The next domino?
The final overthrow?

Ivan,
The people at home are restless,
The dispirited war wounded
Bring them not glad tidings of a righteous conflict almost won
But of a nightmare once begun
Not ended without a million hearts broken
On either side and the awakening notion
That maybe,
Just maybe,
They have been misled for all these years.

Ivan,
Though you share their fears
You cannot go home
But must remain
To be slain
Or else to flee to what survives of freedom
On the other side of the world,
But if you do you will never see
Your mother,
Nor your father,
Nor your brother,
Nor Moscow in the Spring
Ever again.

Ivan,
I pity you,
And also your manipulators,
Devoid of compassion
And humanity,
How evil they must be,
How soulless,
Those hateful old men
In soundproof rooms
Who plot and scheme the end of freedom,
How cold,
How heartless,
How embittered...
And perhaps just a little frightened.

Back To Poetry Index