Doug Rawlings: Veterans for Peace

Doug Rawlings is a founding member of Veterans For Peace and was an active member in early years of the organization, became Maine chapter president for 5 years, and served as chapter secretary.  He was on the planning committee for the  annual PTSD symposia and, planning committee for the 25th anniversary national convention.

Rawlings was drafted in the fall, 1968 and served in Vietnam from July 1969 to August, 1970, 7/15th Artillery.  He was a secondary school teacher for six years and has been teaching at the University of Maine at Farmington for close to thirty years.  

The Wall

Descending into this declivity
dug into our nation' s capitol
by the cloven hoof
of yet another one of our country' s
tropical wars
Slipping past the names of those
whose wounds
refuse to heal
Slipping past the panel where
my name would have been
could have been
perhaps should have been
Down to The Wall' s greatest depth
where the beginning meets the end
I kneel
Staring through my own reflection
beyond the names of those
who died so young
Knowing now that The Wall
has finally found me \endash
58,000 thousand-yard stares
have fixed on me
as if I were their Pole Star
as if I could guide their mute testimony
back into the world
as if I could connect all those dots
in the nighttime sky
As if I
could tell them
the reason why

On the War in Iraq
On this October day in 2003
on this day of bright sky blue
of tree lines splattered in red yellow orange and green
I am as old as my father was in 1969
caught between dread and a morbid curiosity
taking in the six o' clock news
Now I see what he must have seen
of soldiers dying two by two three by three
always alone
watching the ticker tape scrolling across the bottom
of his hopeless little screen
keeping half an eye open for his youngest son
Now I wonder what I wondered
thirty-four years ago, and I wonder
what they wonder what we think
or pretend to know
of their suffering of their pain
their fear of not coming home completely whole
Though of course I know
that is an impossibility -- coming home all of one piece \endash
knowing now what they know of what
I knew of war
and its hold on your balls
on your sanity

Source: Veterans for Peace;