The Thousand Yard Stare
Poetry by Lachlan Irvine


I know a man who looks at me
With eyes that see right through.

Like a dog whistle with a pitch
Beyond the reach of human ears,
His eyes are focussed on the middle distance,
Fixed on a point which others cannot see.

I know I may not share his world
Where tracer splits the midnight sky,
Where ambush waits along each track,
Where constant guard must be maintained,
And even sleep can bring no rest
When relaxation may mean instant death.

What has that world to do with me?
It seems so very far away.

Yet I cannot escape those eyes,
That ice-blue look that haunts me still;
That steady, thousand-yard stare...
There - in my mirror - every day.

Lachlan Irvine

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Vietnam War Poetry