Sadly, the parents of those soldiers killed in action during the Vietnam War have been shamefully ignored and neglected. This poem is a tribute to all of them for the suffering of their loss and their subsequent isolation. The Prime Minister’s collective apology on 18th August 2006, on behalf of the Australian nation for the shameful treatment received by Vietnam veterans, should also perhaps have made special mention of the shameful neglect of the parents of those KIA during that war.
“Wait for that wisest of all counsellors - TIME.”
- Pericles in his funeral oration for the Athenian dead, 431 B.C.
♪♪ If I ... could save time ... in a bottle …
The first thing ... that I’d like to do …
Is to save ... every day ... till e-tern-ity passes away …
Just to spend every moment ... with you! …
If I ... could make days ... last forever …
If words could make wishes come true …
I would save ... every day ... like a treasure and then …
Again, I would spend them with you …
If I had a box ... just for wishes …
And dreams ... that had never come true …
The box ... would be empty ... except for the memory …
Of how ... they were answered by you! …
If only I ... could save time ... in a bottle! ... ♪♪
- from the song Time in a Bottle, by Jim Croce.
Once, I opened a letter,
Words of comfort inside,
From someone then present,
With my son when he died.
Counselling in those days,
Not then offered you see;
Dismissed from their minds,
Best to ignore those like me.
Having empathy for my plight,
Claiming such neglect, a cruel crime,
So he wrote me a poem, called:
‘THE HEALING POWER OF TIME’
‘Must seem like the Earth,
Has opened up far below;
Only those in that chasm,
Could possibly know.
Mind awash, with your loss,
So sleep cannot start;
Feels just like a dagger,
Plunged deep in your heart.
Surrounded, yet alone,
Left to deal with this grief;
Little comfort in words,
Only Time brings relief!
Though your son has now gone,
Blurred memories, bring a smile;
In the overall scheme,
You’re apart just awhile.
Meantime, you have others,
With needs that you can’t ignore;
Your bonds will grow stronger,
Through the years even more.
And though the hurt may remain,
It’ll fade, you will find,
And Life’s joys will return,
That’s the beauty of Time!’
Yet, fast forward today,
A generation’s now passed;
That cycle’s incessant,
Bitter memories still last.
And I know there are others,
Out there, with this pain;
Sometimes, I just wonder,
How we’ve not gone insane.
So I ponder these words,
My son’s mate put to rhyme,
And I wait for the end,
When I’ll at last, reach that Time.