Monday, October 17, 2016

Seashell (written at 16)

Google Images: Seashell in Mui Ne Vietnam

Little seashell in the sand
uncovered by the lapping wave,
with your home here in Vietnam
I know you have seen better days.

Days when the sun shown bright
not hidden by the dust of war,
and peaceful days without a fight
when people could enjoy this shore.

These days of war will last awhile
while unsuspecting people die,
a war so ugly and so vile
and we who watch still wonder why.

Tiny shell don’t give up hope
because a soldier died today,
someday perhaps we’ll learn to cope
and maybe peace will find it’s way.

© Ginny Brannan written in 1972

The future I envisioned: Children playing on the beach. Nha Trang Vietnam.

What the reality was in 1972, Google Images: Vietnam coastline, 1972

Just a little background on the climate of the era: In 1972 I was just starting my Junior year of High School. For at least a decade and a half, the Vietnam war had been spoon fed to us on the nightly news, excerpts edited for our consumption. By 1972 I was aware of some of the realities, but mostly what was going on here at home, all of the antiwar protests and the fact that people I actually knew were being drafted now. The songs of the era: Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" and "Masters of War," Creedence's "Fortunate Son", Edwin Starr's "War" ('what is it good for? Absolutely nothin'), Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" all spoke to the disenchantment of this war that had lingered much too long.

In our Junior year, one of my English subjects was poetry, and one of the assignments was to write a poem. My somewhat sheltered small-town Vermont life left me blissfully ignorant of the realities of the war on the other side of the world.  My poem, above, speaks a lot to my own naiveté.  My teacher panned the poem, part of her notes had to do with me "personifying" an inanimate object (the seashell). I do have to wonder if the underlying factor had more to do with my sympathetic views of that war. Hindsight is always 20-20, you know…

Anyways, for better or worse, first "real"poem I can remember writing.


  1. Wonderful, and somehow sweet discourse on the war, Ginny. Your teacher seemed to have ribs as rocky as newly plowed Vermont pasture if she couldn't wrap her head or heart around the art and message. I hope my spelunking into the caves of my past helped inspire you to share this. That'd make me very happy. Now, to find my story "Caught in the Draft," to show another side of those times.

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Thank you for reading my poetry and sharing your thoughts.