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David Baillie Poetry

The poems below are reprinted from the book, "Dry Tears," with the permission of the author, David Baillie. Born on the lower east side of New York City in the 1930s, David Baillie was raised and educated in several school systems throughout New York and Massachusetts. He left high school to enter the Army (under age) and first saw service with the 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, and the Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia, as an instructor. He then became part of the 24th Infantry Division, 34th Infantry Regiment, 34th Tank Company in Korea, and later did tours with the 1st Cavalry Division. His last tour in Korea was with B Troop, 1st Recon Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment. He returned from active duty and served with the 142nd Tank Battalion, New York State National Guard and the Army Reserves for many more years. Upon returning from overseas, he went to college on the GI bill to finish his education, attending several colleges and universities in the New England area, gaining degrees in Counseling and Education.

Poem Index


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Wishful Death - 12/25/96

Easy to escape to reach peaceful place, death,
truth of reality harsh, hard to take evermore,
eyes have seen all that is real to soul’s depth.

Peaceful darkness it would bring no more pain,
time and time again easy it would be, fulfill the plan
to stand and fight no choice ever again.

Winds of black thoughts reach the inner mind,
peace is so very close at one’s own hand,
in this time of year, life re-newed t’s grand.

Horror of horrors viewed long ago, never lost,
blackened soul nightmares rise again, again,
shadows within the mind ghostly host.

Rise again is the theme, never a truth been seen,
potted white lilies line the path to destiny,
wind bring strong scented aroma keen.

Peace at last with one’s own thoughts it brings,
wishful death will allow long wanted rest,
easy to find resolve in darken thoughts, black things.

Peace now from all the evil felt, see restful dreams,
spring fading, summers near, maybe peace next year,
given the strengths peace will be there, in dreams.

Try and try again as before to rest with wishful death,
to rise again doubt, long rest well over due,
worth in human terms nil, t’s owns last breath.

Tears all dry never felt by others is true,
fleeting breath is own to renew or subdue,
seldom known, and never, never knew.

Wishful death gives peaceful guise to dreams of past,
shall it be or not, horrors so deep to forget, regret,
too many to pass-over ever, and ever they’ll last.

Peaceful rest a wish to come true with each breath,
breath to breath life not lasting t’s true, worthy too,
so plan for the long peaceful, wishful death.


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No Man's Land - 2000

Four miles of no-man’s land a 100 long cold and hot,
shadows of the night hide the fear felt none seen,
soundless as a black panther in the darkness, alone,
only self to answer, a one man patrol right or not.

Life taken in hands through darkness, fear unseen,
long silences spent until foe found, never seen again,
Days melt into weeks and months, still alone he goes,
on bent knees and hands crawls over ground not seen.

Weather is not mind felt, missions all that he counts,
alone is best no one else can meet test, none of rest,
no thought midnight dreams ahead just mission felt,
the count of all foe would take one to untold amounts.

Few knew of his mission and so it will rest evermore,
dreams come and go these are none the worse too,
faded into past and mind with all rest which is best,
fire and hate, the past with memory too evermore.


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Naktong River - 1996

Blare of bugles send chills through early morn mist,
ghostly figures form row after row on distant shore,
river fog rises to hide terror’s view, from their quest,
numbers grow and grow as bugles blare, a 100 an 100 more.

Suddenly all is still just before the rows of gray launch,
fires of death race across their ranks, from our tanks,
muddy river turns blood red as row of gray, fire breached,
human form 100 and more become mounds upon sandbar, death ranks.

More still more closer, closer rows of gray breach the shore,
fifty yards, twenty closer too, sounds of death to hear,
point-blank in the rows of gray, they still come as before,
200 an 200 more, over others laying on shore, in no fear.

Bugles blare, into brightness of day, lives lost in malay,
sweat and tears, bodies worn, fire more from morn to dusk,
to stop would be to betray a trust, red hot guns in the fray,
fallen comrades still, that line of steel can’t go bust.

Like lighting fire-flies rounds of death streak across river,
from this side to that snuffing out life in their flashes,
steel blades to hold the line from evil across the river,
no tears for fallen, no time to stop flow of life from gashes.

No young men here now all as old as time itself, for evermore,
moment to moment recalled forty ears from now is true,
gone the baby face smile of youth, swallowed, by horror’s gore,
dreams of the river clear today, nor sleep the night through.

Dusk revealed gray mounds along the shore an all was still,
distant sounds from human forms heard to replace bugles blare,
night’s darkness hide the sights from eyes that would chill,
no life, soul or breath to give, question if God is still here.

Forgotten but by a few, this river crossing of life and death,
memories all too clear for young men, now old ones too,
the day was saved, the cost too high to equate, in a breath,
the river that turned red for a long, long day forgotten too.


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Line Kansas - 1996

Long ago and forgotten in a Godless place,
man made on paper with a sweep of the hand,
no walls or river nor mountains to see this line,
if you cross even with care, life will be taken, devil’s hand.

Frozen in earthen shapes and images and minds for eternity,
stretched from sea to sea hundred miles and more, this way an that,
no human path made, devil’s hand made from below, must be so,
line of life and death, a thousand times that and more, to infinity.

Honored task to cross it, for gold, silver, riches in dreams,
what then…promotion to position up on high, can be..
to win a golden prize, a medal of distinction too..
gladly they go to reap this honored goal it seems.

Ever so fiercely they run, walk and crawl to reach this goal,
over fallen comrades, and bits of the foe, up they go,
higher to the top of the hills across the unseen line,
none falter in their task, honor at stake after all, the goal.

Once again an again they take the challenge and cross the line,
1,800 their number was to start now less than half again the total,
bugles blare through early morning chilling air, hills still there,
at last the knoll can be seen, the task done, rewards to be fine.

Dawn, reveals less than four score and ten of men, made the hills,
there was no gold, silver of worldly riches given, nor medals, worth,
mounds of dirt to fill their pockets, not gold powder or diamond chips,
worth the cost, the goal’s question asked then and now still.

Cross the line on paper for what and who or just a job to do,
the hill tops only dirt after all, no earthly worth, its true,
not so you know your worth all there is on this earth to cross the line,
all you did, will stay for as long as time, human worth is so.

So very long ago to recall it all, hills, valleys and frozen, cold,
all still is as it was, only we have lost parts of our soul,
remembered in mid-night dreams for a forgotten few,
mission, task, done we crossed Line Kansas, our goal.


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Forgotten - 3/2000

This land may have been forgotten by God or not,
its rain and snow both chill one to the bone,
mid-summer’s night dreams become nightmares all,
rain never stops, soaked in and out, covered or not.

Dry creek beds become raging rivers, not to cross,
land, hills, and roads can’t be seen, heavy is the rain,
rice paddies become swamps and lakes, with no shores,
men try and die in the mud and rain, too far to cross.

This land that God forgot, were sent here to keep peace,
winter cold makes ice from rivers and paddies, hills,
never warm again, wind makes sure there is no heat,
hands and feet never felt, looking for a warmer place.

Some good friends, some we never knew, 50,000 and more,
many ghosts still appear nightly from over 40 years ago,
all came back are not all alive because of forgotten memories,
this place forgotten then and now, no, they who serve evermore.

Frozen, rained on, and forgotten this clan will never forget,
the last of them soon will pass but memories will linger forever,
theirs a pride that goes un-sung, the few who did much for us,
in a far off land, rain soaked and frozen, will never be forgotten.


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Frozen - 1997

Mid-night’s nightmare among frozen hills, forgotten land,
gray forms countlessly cover the landscape, top till bottom,
snow’s crust broken by a thousand steps and more over land,
whiteness gives way to gray, as bugle blares, sound lonesome.

T’s not a dream, every nerve awake can feel the earth move,
a thousand feet and more marching up, up the hill,
frozen fingers grip, triggers at the ready, sights in the groove,
whiteness gone a gray wave now moves strong, sight sends chill.

Wave after wave never to end, defend hill in forgotten land,
twenty no, thirty below and more, fingers blue, feet too,
can’t walk or run so fight, day and night make a stand,
to take a breath is death, frozen lips to speak, to who?

A thousand and a thousand more, bugles cut night air,
fire flies of death ring out across frozen hill and mound,
whiteness now turns to red, cold matters not for the dead there,
row after row reappear and buddy along side is frozen ground.

Wishful the thoughts were frozen too, from long ago, of land,
youth was lost among the frozen waste of land an human soul,
bring back, lost for eternity all who stood hand to hand,
monuments stand, can’t feel the frozen curse, for man’s soul.


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In Country

The smell of death all around, will there be an end,
short timers don’t even smile, they been in country too long,
a new phrase then but now known by all friends,
deep in rice paddy mud, time left is too long.

Rain and sweat soak you through and through, blood too,
there are no safe places to hide if you could, and would,
mounds of empty shells fill the field, body bags too,
one more day, each day after another, go home you should.

There are some who stay in country for times over due,
they think if they do one less new is needed to come over,
to save a life anyway they can is the plan and that’s true,
another time, have been a great country with green cover.

Now all one thinks about is to get out of, in country,
each day is counted off to the hour short or long to go,
last sight seen is it fading beneath the clouds, in country,
back into the real world, what’s that? Anyway we go…


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Sounds of Death

In midnight’s dreams the stillness of thought there is no sound
of times gone by and memories fade, there is no light to be seen
quiet as this may be there yet can be heard, death an its sound
comes not only in the night but day light too, an yet can’t be seen.

For us who have been close enough to touch it, we heard it too
some others look at us and know not what we hear and why
there is a sound that with time we hear but no one else does too,
like the night’s darkness gives out a cry, or blacken sky.

Just before a summer thunder storm from a far is heard sounds
death gives out these same unheard sounds to ones eyes
like the cold in a long winter’s night, so cold it gives off sounds
we know we can’t live till the end of time, so shut our eyes.

Peace will at last over come us and take us to a better place
when sounds of death grow louder, one knows it’s time to go
this can be now in a second or years ahead to find peace
do not fear the sounds of death when it’s time you’ll know.

Some say they can smell death signs and that may be true too
to have been so close to hear and smell it, to feel it through your soul
can’t take away the sounds as long as your breath is felt too
time goes on and the sounds grow louder, ready to take death stroll.

Out live friend and family alike, dark hair turns to gray, mind grows dim
can be said a lot to die young, to much pain in long days remain
there can’t be any steps back only forward to where the light is dim
I can hear these sounds and they grow louder each day I remain.


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Whirly Birds

I wonder as to how they fly, we dare not pry,
no wings nor feathers seen, this bird of sky,
nor sleep or rest even a place to nest.

Made of metal and tin, with blades so very thin,
this side that, turn up or down and around,
sightless seen in early light just short of ground.

Whipping, whining sound seen others light it found,
Grunt’s closest friend to leave LZ and ground,
many a foe gone it spits fire very profound.

Life of life to save every day, will always find,
dark dreams are made from its sound to hear,
every hill, field and paddy too always in mind.

Never stop coming, going day night to bring the flight,
save a life or more handed with care through its door,
bird of prey and peace and Grunt’s life of flight.

Whirly Bird, we need you now, so find us tonight,
for the morn to late it’ll be to save a life, me,
will stand and wait for my fate, pray it’s my flight.


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50 and 15

None of us asked to come but we did any way,
some were old men, 25 or so, some teenagers.
The heat was bad but the cold was worse for all,
now we all are old and many are still cold today.

High school Proms were missed, more than a few,
who’d ever guess in the War Forgotten we’d be,
in the land God forgot, 10,000 miles from home,
your best girl out with someone else, who knew?

Dear "John" letters arrive everyday, you’re alive,
ditch and ice water each day and a bed of hay.
More fun in Small Town USA, to bullet dodging,
no red sunsets, just red balls of fire, artillery live.

Will we ever remember how to be young again?
Will we forget all that we have seen, we’ll try.
Once you celebrate your 18 birthday in a paddy ditch,
it’s hard to become a teenager now and again.

Thirty days of all this and all are old to the day,
the loss is great and no buddies are left to find,
6 from 36, and 1 from 40, and 183 out 1,900 all gone,
so long ago names just fade away as years and days.

It’s been 50 years already? can’t be, and me alive.
They say the good die young, so here I am waiting.
Some things are fresh and some are forgotten for good.
Can’t go to Hell been there once already, and survived.


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Last Bugle's Call
Written by David Baillie in humble honor of Tech-4 Edward G. Bradfield

Wearer of khaki and olive drab with three stripes on the sleeves,
many a bugle’s sound heard by men over hard years,
from Indonesia to the Bulge service done with skill and pride,
rise up in early hours to its tune, reveille an mess and mail please.

Times of glory and defiant brave men, all have met the greatest test,
one of these we knew and held dear has now heard his last bugle call,
once again he has met the test and now leads the way down a new path,
we can’t follow now, but he’ll be there when we arrive along with the rest.

It’s altogether proper to play "retreat", but I think he’d like a good jazz beat,
any words spoken in behalf need to raise a grin; without, it wouldn’t be him,
he’s done the best he could do for country and family, its hard to know how,
right, left to the sound of the beat from far off shores to home towns streets.

A traveler to new ground and far from alone, to find many an old friend,
the wearers of khaki and olive drab gather there with warm waiting embrace,
he hears the last bugle call long before the sound is heard by others ears,
with a snappy turn on his heels down the path goes another not to forget.

Free of strife and pain, he’ll have ever lasting peace before you and me,
share your thoughts of him with others, tell his jokes, recall his laugh,
give a grin and stand still for the bugle’s sound it’s playing "recall",
he’s wanted again to serve, do his best as before for the rest, you and me.

Sounds fade away and flags are lowered and tunes of glory heard by all,
this old warrior has met his foe and wont he day, we need not weep but pray,
time will heal the pain and embrace the memory, he’d want it that way,
the last bugle’s call is heard by him wearer of khaki and olive drab an all.

 

 

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