VIETNAM

By Luis G. Dato

On Vietnam’s marshes, set against dark hills,
War inexorable goes on apace
The torch to keep that lights the human race,
Against the foe whose march insidious kills.
Here is grim destiny, fierce minds, strong wills,
Here is no empty threat, no idle phrase,
But combat stark that through gruff gloom must trace
With bombs and shells the freedom that fulfills.
Free men don’t eat their cake and have it too,
Nor yet at bounden duty balk, be what it may,
They cannot run and to the world yet say
They have stood well their ground and faced the foe -­
Shall Freedom’s torch immortal keep its glow?
On Vietnam’s hills and marshes this will show.

II

Not only now in Asia our swords gleam
In war array on Vietnam’s battle plain
In centuries bygone, then under Spain,
Our blood we shed, her aegis made supreme.
Cambodia, Siam, strange though it may seem
Saw our arms drawn for Castille o’er the main,
Victorious, for her sun had yet to wane,
In the high noon of her imperial dream.
Not now as minions we, nor to enslave,
Our boon we bring God-given from the heart,
As Malay brethren we have come to save,
In Freedom’s Odyssey to play our part
A rendezvous we keep with Liberty,
South Vietnam for the Free World must be free.

Luis Dato
Luis Dato

Luis G. Dato (July 4, 1906 - January 29, 1985) was a poet, writer and educator from Sta. Cruz, Baao, Camarines Sur. He published books in English including Manila A Collection of verse (1926), My Book of Verses (1936) and the Land of Mai in 1975. He also wrote several books and text in Bikol such as, Vocabulario Bikol-Ingles-Kastila (1963), Cantahon na Bikol (1969), Morfologia kan Tataramon na Bikol (serialized in Naga Times), Patotodon sa Bikol (Bikol Mail) and Sarabihon sa Bikol.

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