The Coca-Cola Girl
Poetry by Lachlan Irvine


(Inspired by a conversation about the Vietnam War with a young student at the University of Western Australia)

Each week, for just one hour,
Our worlds converge;
Each week, the hour ends,
And we depart
To go our separate ways.
Her face displays a teenage purity
As seen on countless T.V. screens
And billboards everywhere
Proclaiming brands of popular soft drink.
Somehow the curiosity of youth
Has bridged the gap of years
And she is speaking...
I find myself responding to her questions
By telling stories of another world
I would prefer she did not have to know.
For my world bears the painful memory
Of lost innocence;
Of wars which must be fought
By boys who may not live to be
Older than she is now;
And those who do survive will lose
Their chance to ever feel
As young as she is now.
The Coca-Cola girls they leave behind
May never penetrate the walls
These young old men must build
To keep the nightmares in
And keep the memories from breaking out.
The conversation ends,
We separate,
I wonder...
Have I defiled her world
By introducing her to mine?
Or will she now seek further knowledge
To help her generation to avoid
The errors of the past?
For she is the future,
I am history.

Lachlan Irvine

For more Vietnam War poems, return to the Vietnam War Poetry Page.

Vietnam War Poetry