This August 10 the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (SRVN) marks the 50th anniversary of Agent Orange. The United States used Orange and other herbicides contaminated with dioxin against the people of our ally the Republic of Viet Nam from 1961, exposing many Allied servicemen and women as well.
SRVN has scheduled performances across the country and a conference then a rally in Ha Noi. We join the commemoration with the earliest poem we know about dioxin, written unawares by a young David A. Willson who is now dying from exposure.
Don’t strain your weak eyes looking
The frogs are gone from their bushes
The yellow lizards are watching
The bugs are there, creeping
The flies and ants and even the little birds
But those small green frogs are gone
Maybe Mrs. Cuc ate them with rice
Maybe she sliced
Maybe something wild got them,
Although I don’t know what would eat them
Except Mrs. Cuc
Mrs. Cuc ate the big frog
That you found on the lawn
When you were mowing
First she tied a string
To its left leg
And dragged it around
She knocked it on the head
And skinned it
Popped it in the pan
And fried it
But Mrs. Cuc has been sick
Hasn’t been around lately
And besides, the frogs are damn small.
Skinned they’d provide less meat than all
The flesh under your thumb nails
Or the snails on the nearby wall.
The frogs could be out there right now
But as far as I know
The lizards chirp on
But the frogs are gone