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Vietnam '68


I see a weeping woman clutching her babe
On the floor of a bamboo hut,
As the burning roofing falls
From the leaning battered walls
And a door that stays stuck shut.
Then the wind takes her cry
To a cloudy distant sky
Where the terror-raiders fly — away.
She says: "Please, Mr. President, don't kill me!
You took my baby's papa already, you see.
I beg you in the name of humanity,
Give us peace! Give us peace! It's our only plea."

I get up on my feet and turn around,
See an anxious soldier lie in wait.
Then he opens up and fires
As his president requires,
Four peasants and their children meet their fate.
I ask the reason why
These people had to die...
Why, for God's sake? Why — this way?
He says: "Risky! There was more of 'em than me!
Might've been hidin' weapons there, you see!
Just cain't trust no-one 'round this territ'ry.
Heck, how's we to know where guerrillas might be?"

The evening calm is broken by the sudden
Roaring shriek of heavy jets.
Then before a word is said,
One hundred more are dead.
Mission done, they're gone without regrets.
But in my mind still lives My Lai,
And the weeping woman's cry:
"Do you wish that I should die — today?"
How sad someone's eyes can be so blurred,
That the callous heart will not been stirred,
That the desperate plea still goes unheard.
Please let your conscience take my word!