March 14, 2013

Poem of the Week [UNTITLED]



On March 16, at dawn
Birds twittered and hens called out to their chicks,
Homes were burned to the ground and turned to cinders,
The buffalo and the cow lay cold and twisted in their death,
The people were all killed.
Only the pig survived, all alone and helpless,
Who's left alive to care and feed you, poor pig?


[Chuc is or was a Vietnamese peasant living in My Lai village in Quang Ngai Province. He wrote this lament directly after the 1968 massacre of 500 Vietnamese, mostly women, children and infants by troops from Charlie Company of 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade, Americal Division, US Army. I found it quoted in a study of the massacre entitled Four Hours In Mai Lai by Michael Bilton and Kevin Sim (Viking, 1992). A title and Chuc's family name were not provided.]

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