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About the Poem

This poem, more than most, speaks pretty much for itself. The year was 1968 and I was eighteen years old. In danger of being drafted into the Army, I joined the Marines instead.

My life was about to change.

Listen To The Sounds Of Vietnam

Listen to the sounds of Vietnam,
As you walk through the trees;
The murmur of the birds,
The rustle of the leaves,
The chattering of a monkey --
His mate chatters back.
Listen to the sounds of Vietnam,
For they never seem to lack
That quality of peace
And freedom's lot,
In a God blessed land
That time forgot.

But then a bullet whizzes by,
As you're listening to the sounds,
And the bullet's crack is just a sign
Of bigger and louder rounds.
An 80mm mortar lands
With a shattering effect;
A wounded man screams,
Another yells "Hit the deck!"
The screech of the automatics,
The roar of the three-point-five.
And when the fight is over
You thank God you're just alive.

Listen to the sounds of Vietnam,
If ever you should go;
And tell me, which are the natural ones?
I'd really like to know.
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5 Visitor Comments

This poem brought tears to my eyes. My Grandpa Coddington, who past on this last year, served in Vietnam. He was an amazing person and his stories regarding life experiences really affected who I am today. Thank you for sharing this poem. I know you may have writen it with the intentions of expressing your tribulations during that time, but for me it brought back many happy memories of a man I will always love and admire. Thank you.
i to was a grunt in the nam semper fi. i was near tears
I loved this poem, sometimes i think we forget how fortnate we are and this poem made me realize that there is more to life than the coolest trends and suff. Sometimes we dont hear what we should hear and i hope no one ever has to go through war. it has to be the worst experience. thanks for the insight.
I'm only 15 years old and I was doing an English essay on war poems, and as I was looking up some poems to read to the class that had been written by other people, I came across Ron Carnell's, Listen To The Sounds Of Vietnam. I know alot about Vietnem, and this poem was so touching in the last few lines it makes you think, how peaceful jungels were ripped up because of us.It makes you think that none of them really wanted to be there.
Beautifuly written.tears came to my eyes when i read it.

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