The Things That I Have Seen

Richard Shindell

I was proud to be the soldier
I had been since '83
When I joined to pay for college
Like my brothers before me
I was proud to serve my country
And to be a fine Marine
But pride can not protect me
From the things that I have seen

When they shipped us out of Norfolk
My family came to wave
My Mama stood there
Choking back the tears and looking brave
And though we never spoke of it
We all feared it just the same
Now they tell me I should talk about
The things that I have seen

I was trained to take the good shot
I was trained to clean my gun
They trained me not to talk back
And they trained me not to run
I was trained to be as silent
As the shadow of a hawk
But no one trained me for the silence
Of the things that I have seen

Once I saw an accident
Out on Old Rt. 17
Mama told me not to look at it
As we slowly passed the scene
Thought the image of that wreckage
Was burned into my brain
That did not prepare me
For the things that I have seen

I thought I was a good man
I thought I was elite
I thought I'd fight the good fight
And that I'd never see defeat
Then we won that bloody war
And how we laughed at their retreat
Now I wage a losing battle
Against the things that I have seen

Be glad that modern science
Has given us so much
We can rifle through the channels
Without ever standing up
But I can't find a station
That hasn't had enough
Of this morbid fascination
With the things that I have seen
And me, I can't stop dreaming
About the things that I have seen