My Son-in-Law’s beatiful poem to my granddaughter


~ Simple Wishes ~

By Cory Clayton © 2013
For my Kaylea Dawn

The essence of innocence lay asleep on my lap
The only sounds are your breath and the continuous tap
Of the keys as I capture my thoughts through these words
Knowing I’d give my life to give you all you deserve

Not earthly possessions, which we falsely hold dear
My wish for you is simple, a life without fear

May you truly comprehend; wants versus needs
And be blessed with a heart that helps to plant seeds
So that others may see you as a light
That provides them with courage to continue their fight

Not a fight caused by greed, a desire for more
My wish for you is simple, a life without war

Be a woman of courage, pride, beauty, and grace
But one who’s not fearful to stand in the face
Of those who preach hate, the message of fear
Use love, hope, and kindness when the battle draws near

Not just battles comprised of the physical form
My wish for you is simple, strength to weather life’s storms

One more thing my dear, that I want you to know
That I love you more than I ever could show
An angel sent down from the heavens above
My wish for you is simple, unconditional love

Love Always, Dad


A Soldiers Dream

By Daniel Shea © 5/25/11

Tigar in the bamboo forest

Ghosts with guns charge our line,
tigers growl in the bamboo,
your brother is here.

Monsoon winds sweep the ocean
glasses fog in the fog of war.
Death taps my shoulder
shakes my sleep, shoulder is frozen in pain, …
Pain tells me, I am still alive,
t was only a dream.

Not a dream but memories long buried.
The smell of mold on a forest floor,
sky in patches of red, white and blue-green
Peep through a quilt of evergreens, palm and jungle canopies
men step silently, appear and disappear – chameleons with guns

Rush of fear and sweat, fssssssszzzzzzzt!
snipers’ aim misses its’ target and takes another
Elephant grass stained in blood, target for the M60
screams echo in the hollows of my skull
Be still not to draw attention… to our position.
compass due north, moral compass killed on arrival.

Forgotten, names carved like scars in a granite monument,
Families touch cold stone, give warmth and life to a soul once lived
Monuments to war, are graveyards to a peace that could have been.

Waltz in the Valley of Death

Trung Sisters
Waltz in the Valley of Death
By Daniel Shea © 2013 version III

Trưng Trắc and Trưng Nhị
Daughters of old Viet Nam
Ferocious Wild Flowers
Upon Monstrous Elephants
Dance with War and Death

A shy moon eclipses
Casting no shadows
Tet appears for the festivities
Harvesting Jackfruits and Betel Nut Smiles

Dragons breathe tongues of fire
Piercing the night, sabers of lights pirouette
Dancing Lions chase evil spirits away
Ghosts of ancestors are invited to feast

Uncle Sam comes bearing brooms
Chase luck away with Revenge
The Rolling Thunder of Boeing B 52s
Sweep away the children of Viet Nam

Puff the Magic Dragon
Tears flesh and bone indiscriminately
Operation Ranch Hand, Poisons
Jungles, Crops and Pregnant Mothers

Hamlets, Towns and Cities perish
People are massacred
Marines and Army join the Dance
Murder, Rape, Torture their tune

Trưng sisters once great warriors
Weep on Deaths’ shoulders
Tears of blood, run rivers red
Souls leave the dance of life

Chose wisely partners in dance
Beware the tunes they whisper
in your ears, their kisses
may be your last

White Noise

White Noise

White Noise by Viet Nam Veteran Daniel J. Shea   © 2/4/13

I often fall asleep on the couch watching the idiot tube because as long as it is on I don’t have to think about Viet Nam and all the wars that came after. My wife has set the timer for the TV to turn off, I wish she could set the timer in my head.

As I toss and turn, the white noise from the screen in front of me does nothing to cover up the sounds, I thought I had left in a country on the other side of the world. The noise of helicopters, the smell of diesel fuel, I remember the laughter of marines sitting around drinking beer, smoking cigarettes and other substances, all these things invade my living room. I can hear artillery off in the distant night, the mosquitoes buzz like bullets biting my ears.

I remember a Vietnamese scout being accused of being a traitor for marking trails, they put a gun to his head, a belt around his neck and with this leash made him walk point, all the way back to our camp. I get a cramp in my back and shrug pulling the blanket up over my shoulder, wondering what ever happened to the scout when we got back.

I still hear the screams of those who stepped on mines as we entered a farming village or maybe it was just a small rice paddy hamlet. Some of these thoughts are fuzzy, surreal, images like a collage not in chronological order.

I was a witness to war but I am not stuck just in Viet Nam, the wars that came after pull at my conscience. I learned firsthand from revolutionaries and refugees from El Salvador and Guatemala the stories of the executions, assignations and disappearance of their families. I got to know them and the story of their lives and the horrors they experienced, some were tortured while others witnessed the carnage of others and the genocide of their villages.

I began to question what really happened in Viet Nam, it has been a long a painful journey and it never seems to end. Just when I think my dreams will spare me another haunt, a new war is on the horizon and we are now told we are entering the fray in a preemptive war to stop Weapons of Mass Destruction and to liberate the people of such and such country from evil despots. They told me in my war it was because of the “Domino Theory” to stop the spread of communism and to liberate the people. Yet, we used WMDs, we bombed, and shot everything in sight, we were supposed to be ending their suffering but we did it with more suffering.

My ears begin ringing and it gets louder and louder, I have to get up and pee, I turn the TV back on because now I can’t sleep but as I rest my head on the pillow I fall right back into my head. I have done a lot of reading on wars and the crimes of wars long past, veterans and victims have told me their stories or I have read them in books and journals. History books may not tell lies but they do not tell the whole truth, they edit out our complicity in murder, massacres and genocide. Truth will not allow itself to be covered up, no matter how deep they, the criminals, try to bury her, she will eventually rises from her grave.

Whistleblowers are the real heroes the Pentagon and Washington want to silence, they will resort to threats and even “Murder” I suspect and why not, if it gets out they will be tried for Crimes Against Humanity.

I hear the birds as morning dawns and I awake from the nightmare, one I have become accustomed to, but each morning I ask myself how can I help end these lies, cover ups, and war crimes. Will the real monsters of these horrors ever pay the price for their slaughter of innocent civilians, will they ever be accountable for their hiding the evidence, will their names ever be published?

Yes, at least a new book published by Nick Turse called “Kill Anything That Moves” has dug up the truth and it is a treasure chest of smoking guns. I just finished reading it, you read it and then demand these criminals if they are still alive be brought to justice before the world courts for all to see.

Then maybe then I can turn off the TV and just go to bed and get a good nights’ sleep.