We drive between lakes just turning green;
Late June. The white turkeys have been moved
A second time to new grass.
How long the seconds are in great pain!
Terror just before death,
Shoulders torn, shot
From helicopters. “I saw the boy
being tortured with a telephone generator,”
The sergeant said.
“I felt sorry for him
And blew his head off with a shotgun.”
These instants become crystals,
The grass cannot dissolve. Our own gaiety
Will end up
In Asia, and you will look down in your cup
Our own cities were the ones we wanted to bomb!
Therefore we will have to
Go far away
For the suffering of the stringy-chested
And the short rice-fed ones, quivering
In the helicopter like wild animals,
Shot in the chest, taken back to be questioned.
Robert Bly, "Driving through Minnesota during the Hanoi Bombings" from Selected Poems, published by HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright © 1967 and renewed 1995 by Robert Bly. Used by permission of Robert Bly.
Source: Selected Poems
(HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 1986)