Jack Day's Worlds

Deserts and Oases: A Veteran's Poetry

Poetry by Jackson H. Day
Columbia, Maryland


** Poems about Signs. -- Senator Eugene McCarthy wrote some which were published in Life Magazine, and inspired me to write two others. One of them is a "protest sonnet" -- perhaps a unique art form!

** Haiku While Wandering -- Newport News, 30 May, 1968. Haiku from a day spent going from place to place with notebook in hand.

** For Cecelia -- Saigon, 11 July, 1968. Cecelia was a school teacher from Kentucky I met on a tourbus in San Francisco before boarding my Vietnam-bound plane at Travis Air Force Base. Wherever you are, Cecelia, thank you for a fond memory.

** Gook -- Dak To, 18 August, 1968. Published in Western Maryland College alumni magazine, 1968

** Haiku for Dak To -- 23 August 1998. Some attempts at verbal photographs using a Japanese form of poetry while walking around the First Brigade base camp at Dak To.

** Vendor -- Kontum, 15 October, 1968. A moment's kindness in an unkind world.

** Stricken -- 71st Evacuation Hospital, Pleiku, 17 October, 1968. Published in Wesley Journal, Washington, D.C., November, 1968

** Tranquility -- is what I saw one morning looking down at a Montagnard village we were flying over.


** Dear John -- Sometimes the mail doesn't bring good news. An Khe, 30 March 1969.

** Dusk -- One night was spent by an airstrip, but planes didn't land there any more. Polei Kleng, April 15, 1969

** Homecoming -- 30 August, 1969. Karen worked at J. C. Penney in Petersburg, Virginia, and thought Vietnam was no laughing matter.

** Oasis -- 26 October 1969, Fort Lee, Virginia


** Who Killed at My Lai? -- Washington, DC, 31 March 1971. My Lai was much in the news. It seemed to me there was more to it than the wrong actions of one second lieutenant. I have subsequently been very impressed by the work in My Lai of Mike Boehm and the Madison, Wisconsin Quakers.

** Requiem for the Unknown Soldier. Washington, D.C., 7 May, 1971. Reflections on the Veterans March to Arlington, April 19, 1971.


** Attic Cleaning -- Poolesville, Maryland, May 21, 1975. People grow; hats don't.


** "Guilty". Columbia, Maryland, July 11, 1976.

** Haiku for Winter. Columbia, Maryland, December 21, 1976


** Don't Look for Me in the Picture Show. Columbia, Maryland, February 22, 1987. Written for the Steinman Festival of the Arts, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY.


** Fragments in the Sand, written in Honolulu, September 6, 1988 while en route to Asia on a business trip, responded to a challenge by Elizabeth Kahn and Ellen Rocco at St. Lawrence University to address the topic of reconciliation between the two sides of a country still divided by the Vietnam War. The poem gave the title, "Reclaiming the Pieces" to the publication which resulted.


** Requiem for a Vietnamese Sampan Girl. Annapolis, MD, October 21, 1996. Written upon hearing of an atrocity.


** Memorial for Antonio Maria Barerra whose picture I carried at the School of the Americas Vigil, Fort Benning, Georgia, November 22, 1998. Columbia, MD, Good Friday, 1999. For background see The 1998 School of the Americas Vigil: A Personal Narrative or The 1998 School of the Americas Vigil: Finding the Bottom Line. This poem appeared January 28 - February 25, 2000 at the Cuesta College Art Gallery, San Luis Obispo, California, in support of "The Practice of Art," an exhibition by David Settino Scott. As described by Cuesta College,, ten panels of the exhibit "lament death squads and human rights abuses."


** The Walls Bear Witness. Attleboro, MA, September 10, 2000. After seeing photographs of a Lutheran Church in Monrovia, Liberia, where 500 refugees were massacred in June, 1990.


** Ben Het at Dusk. Ben Het, Vietnam, June 4, 2004. After visiting the site that was the Ben Het Special Forces Camp in the late 1960's.

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Updated March 13, 2005

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