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Just a Moment in time

Murl D. Long

Those who knew me in my youth would say
He burned the candle at both ends, night and day
I would disagree, but that would be a waste
I just lived life, as though in haste

Certainly, there was an attempt to cram as much as I could
Into each day, sometimes more than I should
There is a question in my mind as to a premonition in my dreams
That this will come to an end, sooner than later, as it seems

Pay no attention to such thoughts of mortality, or the lack
Enjoy your life on earth, don’t look back
Enjoy someone or something , the sun, moon, sounds and sights
And the warm summer breezes on balmy, lazy nights

I’m a twenty year man in the Marines, so I can travel and learn
I’ve witnessed war and peace and turmoil every where I turn
An old gunny sergeant remarked, “I have this comment to tell
There will be another war, on that you can count, be prepared, train well”

Marines are blessed to spend their time on this earth in Hell
Heaven will welcome them “You have served your time, so rest a spell”
I have no fear, as this life has been a good test of spirit and soul
Bring it on, the challenge is to carry out the next role

Be steadfast , clear of mind, resolute in the task
That is all anyone can ever ask
There is a struggle going on in the desert sands so far from here
It draws me toward the turmoil as a leaf in the wind, I fear

I have no strong desire to shape this conflict for one cause or other
There is no one in this fight that I can call my ‘brother’
But I will go to this far away land, I’m not afraid
Of injury or pain , it will not interfere with plans I have made

With my comrades I journey afar to a place I’ve never known
It’s riches are few and far between, and very overblown
So very, very cold at night, the sky is clear except for contrails up high.
The days are so hot, but there is no shelter, this is not a place to die

The battles rage on, time forgotten, whether day or night
The enemy will not give up his land without a fight.
What day is this? Does anyone know?
We have endured this filthy place. Is there some other place we can go?

From a cluster of reeds come two forlorn souls with their hands held above their head
They want water and they seek to surrender, at least that’s what one of them said
Then the slight one drops to the ground
I hear the AK-47 deliver it’s round

A tank gunner delivers a burst, and they exist no more
Too late for me, something is different than before
A fierce pain in my groin, and down I go
A rivulet of blood on the hot sand does flow

I watch it as the world begins to fade away
Someone is by my side. What did he say?
Now, that aged premonition does seem at hand
I can feel the burning hot sand

As I have said, “This is no place to die” but it’s not my call
I have met my fate after all
Not a single tear should any one of you shed
Only old people die in bed

Have a party, celebrate and recall the good times we have had
Why should anyone be remorseful or sad
Why did I dread this last page in the book of life, peace and quiet at last
Long, long ago, I read this chapter and this is how the die was cast

Goodbye. My journey is at an end, I’ve earned my rest
Where I go, no more wars, tell the gunny I have reached my quest

Murl Long
January 20, 1991

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