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Published:July 23rd, 2011 10:22 EST
Another Story Behind a Poem ---   March 16, 1968

Another Story Behind a Poem --- March 16, 1968

By Ed Roberts

With most every poem I write there is a story behind its creation. I wanted to share this poem and its tale ----


March 16, 1968

Our soldiers are the best in the world

They live, breathe, and die for this country

I have stood with so many of them

Owe my life to more than one

In my heart

They hold a special place


Our soldiers are usually the first

To stand against a tyrant

To rescue the injured from a disaster

To deliver food and water to the needy

To help rebuild a broken country

And people


They would never exploit their position

Rape innocent women

Traffic narcotics

Burn an inhabited village

Bayonet unarmed civilians

Shoot or torch

Women and children


These are soldiers

We would never allow them to do that


But we have

And they did


So many have forgotten

Either by choice

Or denial


But there was a day in March

In a small village called

My Lai

All should be forced to remember



If we ever forget

All of this

We will allow it to happen

Once again

Ed Roberts 7/20/11


If we forget the past we are destined to be forced to relive it.

Late last week and earlier this week I spoke with several different people, more than one is either now serving or has served in the US military.  Only one of these remembered what had happened on that day in March in a small village called My Lai.

I spent several hours reading different articles I could find on the topic and also looked at a few dozen pictures that I could find. More than one night was filled at walking through these in my dreams, stepping inside the faces, being forced to allow myself to understand the suffering and pain that so many suffered. I walked through My Lai over and over again, constantly asking the one question that still has not been answered to this day; how could something like this happen?

I sat at this keyboard several times, begged, pleaded for words to try and relieve what was being held inside, what was slowly ripping and tearing its way through my heart and soul.

Finally Wednesday the words came. I was allowed to sit and capture these in less than 10 minutes.

That night in my dreams I helped bury the dead.

There will always remain a pathway to My Lai hidden somewhere in my consciousness.

I pray that I do not have to travel this road again for some time.

I have had others tell me that they wish that they could write poetry like I do, try and capture pure and raw emotion on paper for others to share.

I hope this helps them understand this is not something that comes easily.

It is the job of a poet to try and give a voice to those who have been forgotten or who have no way to speak for themselves.

We try and find words for things that others search for but simply can not find on their own.

I wanted to remind those who seek to do this that these words do not come without a price, one that sometimes can bruise and wound you to your very soul.

These however are the words by which we fulfill our purpose and can bless the writer in more ways than most can begin to imagine.

My name is Ed and yes, I am a poet.

As long as I am able I will continue to write for you and all those who need their story told.