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Hungry Ghosts - Memorial Day

This Memorial Day 2020

In this year of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic I have written a poem in tribute to my younger brother Michael David Shea 2/12/1950 - 7/6/2010

who followed me to Viet Nam in 1968.
-----Original Message-----

From: dan shea
Sent: May 25, 2020 2:00 PM
To: vfp72 Talk
Cc: vfp72 lists
Subject: [Vfp72] Hungry Ghosts by Daniel Shea

To my son a victim of my exposure to Agent Orange

Casey Allen Shea

12/16/1977 - 2/25/1981

and to all who have fallen or lost love ones because of the insanity of War.

Hungry Ghosts

by Daniel Shea


My reflection, a mere ghost

among War's harvested souls

names etched in black granite

meant to honor their memory

Missing was my own, that

young boy, barely a man,

a marine, whose only cause

was self preservation

Survive I did, though not

innocence, perished it did

in the year of 1968, in the

jungles of Quang Tri Province

Hungry ghosts rise for

Tet Nguyen Dan, to join the first

days feast, the Kitchen Gods have

prepared for restless ancestors

The ancestors have invited the pawns

of the Chinese, French, Japanese,

and American occupiers whose

disembodied spirits have join their own

Together they chant forgiveness

to vibrating quakes, notes struck

on gongs chasing away evil spirits

that brought War's spear

The spear that slaughtered millions,

warriors, farmers, fishermen,

women and children, GENOCIDE, wounding too, bodies and souls

It's carnage lay waste to fertile

fields, rice paddies and villages

It's dragon's breath, set jungles

ablaze, too few creatures escaped

The smoke rose from the ruin

into a cloud, blotting out the sky,

choking the promise of the sun

an omen soon coming to fruition

Winged serpents, spit

toxins, that poison all it

touches, food crops wither

and die, humans fall fatally ill

When we thought War had fled,

still it lingered, reaching into the

womb of mothers, to steal little

arms, legs, fingers, eyes and more.

This lingering monster, was an

equal opportunity killer, neither

race, age, sex, national origin,

nor class could escape it's toll.

Not all the fallen are written

in that great granite Memorial Wall,

Hungry Ghosts reflected in shadowy shapes, have come to weep with us

Vietnamese Ghosts chant forgiveness,

for those of us who unwittingly carried War's spear, remember us not

as warriors on this Memorial Day

Remember us as sons and

daughters, brothers and sisters,

mothers and fathers, Vietnamese,

and Americans and pledge to

break War's spear and War No More.

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