Vox Populi

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Doug Anderson: After the War


After the war, some of us had to have answers.

Who were these people we’d had a war with?

Where did they come from? Where did they learn

to make their villages look like old Taoist paintings

with their hedgerows and boys sitting the back of water buffalo

gently tapping the flank with a stick?

What were those family altars? Why did people

seem to be so connected to the earth

they were always driven from?

Why is the landscape so beautiful?

The jungles, the sandy coastal areas with scrub pines

and cactus. Rice paddies terraced

up the mountainsides? We had carried the beautiful earth

in our dreams.  The smell of the fields

the minute the plane’s door opened

at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi

hit us in the gut. We were so happy.

Without fear, the Vietnamese language was music.

copyright 2015 Doug Anderson

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