Semper Fi Rodney Watson - The Duke Of Earl


He was the Duke of Earl,

From Baltimore.

And I wish we could sing,

The “Duke of Earl, once more.


It was Camp Carroll,

Where I met the Duke of Earl.

He led us to sing in harmony.

We’d talk of home and a girl.



Have you returned from Vietnam yet?

I considered you so wise.

But when I saw you last,

The light was gone from your eyes.



Could we ever forget,

In a million years and a day,

We were young soldiers,

With orders to obey?



Let’s sing the “Duke of Earl”.

I’ll be your back-up, you sing lead,

And we’ll bring everyone,

Up to speed.



It was just another Chopper ride,

But never this far west.

We may as well pray,

Get more stuff off our chests.


Where did we go?

We don’t really know.

We belong to the long list,

Of “don’t need to know”.



Not a word.

Stare. Say a prayer.

Men are stone,

It may all end in the air.



We have only the clue,

“We’ve never been here before”.

As butts are clinched,

On the chopper’s floor.



We’re usually not in the fire,

As choppers set us down.

A field of fire and landing zone,

Are carved on the ground.



We’re off the bird,

As others land,

And they get off,

As fast as they can.



Down this peak,

To another river of creeks,

And rapids are formed,

From drops and leaks.



Unlock and unload,

And put the safeties on.

Hold rifles across the stream,

Or down the rapids you’re gone.


Boot camp memories return,

So many things it teaches,

Like Marines are their brothers keepers,

Who pick off each others leeches.



Walk point.

Go where no man has gone before.

Lock and load.

Take the safety off once more.



Davis, you and Watson,

Go back to the rear.

Help those you can,

Then return here.



There may be casualties,

Find out, come back.

Leave everything heavy,

Especially your pack.



It’s been an endless stream,

This battalion of men.

And darkness and fatigue,

Must put this search to an end.



Voices in the dark,

A rifle’s spark,

A dive into water,

Just another walk in the park.



Snipers and firefights,

Are plenty and too many,

Friendly fire,

Is as deadly as any.



I’m immersed in water,

As a thought runs to me.

Did the shot miss,

Or go right through me?



Thanks for not killing us.

Are there any Marines behind?

Are you the last?

What else will we find?



There may still be Marines.

Some injured were taken back.

Not knowing for certain,

Rodney and I backtrack.



Danger overcomes the darkness.

We will wait for light.

And we’ll wait out the night,

To live for another day to fight.



Wet clothes, jungle boots,

Flack-jacket, M16.

No C-Rations,

Not a bean.



Wet cigarettes,

Are hard to light,

And very hazardous to health,

When smoked at night.



On a rock,

In the middle of a rapid stream,

We settled for the night,

Per-chance to dream.



Soft drinks and ice-cream,

Run through my head,

As I toss and turn,

On this hard rock bed.



Between a rock and a hard place,

What is there to hold dear?

But thoughts of “what if Bette,

Or my family were here?”



There are trials to prove,

What we are and what we’re not.

Like here in Laos between,

A rock and a hard spot.



We’ll start out just before dawn,

While everything is dark.

After all,

It’s just another walk in the park.



We’re just two guys,

Trying to gain back some ground,

Give us two steps Charles,

And we’re out of town.



Our battalion,

Was leaving a trail behind.

C4, a mortar round, a 45 pistol,

Were among things we would find.



As quiet as two Marines in Laos,

Away we tore,

We hopped skipped and jumped,

As the rain began to pour.



And what’s the proper way,

To catch a battalion of grunts?

For the last of the battalion,

Hunts the hunter who hunts.



We track and seek our own.

And to what sounds up ahead,

Do we identify ourselves,

And not lose our heads?



We have to know without doubt.

Furtively we near.

And when we’re sure,

That they can hear,


“God bless America!

...................................Semper Fi!


Duke, Duke, Duke,

...............................Duke of Earl

Duke, Duke

......................Duke of Earl

Duke, Duke

......................Duke of Earl

Duke, Duke

As I

......walk through this world,

Nothing can stop

.............................the Duke of Earl.”



But that story and song,

......................................go on and along.

I just wish you, Rodney,

........................................would finish the song.



Yo Rodney, if I looked in your eyes,

Opened wide,

Would you be there,

On the other side?



Smile at me Rodney.

Show me that “grin within”.

Tell me, “This is another fine mess,

You’ve gotten me in.”



Show off that gold tooth.

I’d love to see that gold star.

It’s another unique feature,

That says who you are.



Let’s sing a bit,

Play some “whist”.

Tell some lies,

About girls we kissed.



Rodney Brother Man,

Did you make it back to the world?

I’ll know, for sure, if I hear,

The Duke of Earl.


God bless Brother Rodney,

~Micky Dee~


The Duke of Earl-Gene Chandler!

More by this Author


Comments 34 comments

50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Great write 50


Fay Paxton 5 years ago

Micky this is a wonderful tribute to your friend about a very solemn time. This is especially touching to me as my son-in-law is off to Afghanistan one month from today.

I hadn't heard "The Duke of Earl" in ages, but I remembered every word. Thank you for a beautiful, heartfelt poem and a stroll down memory lane. up/awesome and beautiful


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

says so much ... Gob Bless you Michael


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Nice hearing The Duke of Earl again. Your memories of Viet Nam are as searing as ever...hardly "a walk in the park." Up and awesome!


justom profile image

justom 5 years ago from 41042

Brother for the first time just yesterday I looked at the registry of guys from my home town who didn't get back. I'd heard about a couple of them but didn't want to believe it until yesterday and it was with a very heavy heart I found the truth. I've been to the wall in D.C. and I really can't think of anyplace that broke me down more. Peace to you Rodney and all our brothers that had to deal with that war. Tom (Nothing can stop the Duke of Earl :-)


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Chilling write Mickey Dee. I graduated from a small high school class. It got smaller in 70, 71, 72.

You've written a beautiful piece here.


Sa`ge profile image

Sa`ge 5 years ago from Barefoot Island

My first husband served four tours, It does not end whether in Nam or Iran or Pakistan. is it truly necessary? Peace and Blessings~ Love you Michael : hugs :


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Very well done. A fine tribute.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 5 years ago from Great Britain

Oh , you´ve got me crying again. Not only because l feel so much for all of you who suffered Vietnam but the WAY you wrote this was so moving.

l don´t know how you do it , but you reach my heart with you poetry like no-one else can.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America

I lost a lot of friends in the Viet Nam Conflict. Great poem.


justom profile image

justom 5 years ago from 41042

Shame on those who still choose to call it a "conflict", it disrespects all who lost their lives. You can call "shell shocked" PTSD but it doesn't change the reality.


vietnamvet68 profile image

vietnamvet68 5 years ago from New York State

A beautiful tribute brother man, So many memories Micky how can we forget those buddies we had and especially the ones that wee left behind.

God Bless


sligobay profile image

sligobay 5 years ago from east of the equator

"...nothing can stop me now" cuz i'm the DOE: Great tribute to a friend. Love the tune. Thanks.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

Never thought 'The Duke Of Earl' would sound so beautiful, used to love the song and still do.

Memories, i guess they never really go away

No mater how far we travel

Memories are here to stay

This was a story told so well

Of fear and courage

That only you can tell.

God Bless you Micky

Thank you


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I've been to "The Wall." We went there so that Dad could see the name of one particular guy that he'd been friends with.

My hometown, Kaufman, Texas - is now the home of what used to be the Travelling Vietnam Memorial Wall. It's a 3/4 size replica of the real one. I don't know how we got to have that, but we do.

Wish you were around here today, I'd share some of East Texas finest with you.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

And what’s the proper way,

To catch a battalion of grunts?

For the last of the battalion,

Hunts the hunter who hunts.

Very powerfully said.


Jean Bakula 5 years ago

Micky,

What a beautiful poem and tribute to the men who were your brothers during that awful war! My husband & I are the same age, and graduated HS in 1973. He was classified and would have had to go, but then the war stopped. At least officially. I didn't know him then. I am grateful for good people like you who are here to tell us what you went through. If only our stupid government would listen, or go do the dirty work themselves, wars could stop for good. Bless you my friend.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

There are no words to tell you how special I think this poem is. I have heard so many stories from my husband that served in Vietnam and yes he was in Laos also. I also lost several friends I grew up with. Your words spoke something so real and meaningful to me and they certainly are a fine tribute to your friend. God Bless you.


BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 5 years ago from New York

Will a generation ever learn to say 'no'? When will they throw a war and no one show up? All questions asked by too many generations, I suppose. Beautiful tribute, beautiful hub, beautiful human being. *hugs* and Blessings to you.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

So sad and chillingly realistic, Micky. Hope Rodney is in a better place. Beautifully written - voted up.


acaetnna profile image

acaetnna 5 years ago from Guildford

A wonderful tribute Micky. Up and pressing those buttons as always!


nakhit_x profile image

nakhit_x 5 years ago from Bahrain

great poetry thank you for shairing this with us


Sa`ge profile image

Sa`ge 5 years ago from Barefoot Island

Bobbi is right I wonder the same thing, when will everyone say NO! and not show up! It is past time ..... no more broken people PLEASE! love U Michael ~hugs~


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Great hub in your own unique style.

I vote up and here's to many more hubs to share.

Take care

Eiddwen.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

Duke of Earl as well as your poem emits sadness. It is an indisputable fact that the physical wounds afflicted by wars may heal, but never those of the mind and spirit. Take care!


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 5 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

Martie said it so well...the physical wounds may heal, but never those of the mind and spirit! This was our generation and all of us need to be reminded of the good men and women who suffer intimately the wounds of the Viet Nam Ugly War! For whatever reason Micky, God has granted you an important role! Good day my friend


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

Chilling and real. Thank you for bringing this compelling poem about an amazing time shared. The two of you share a bond beyond time, I think.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

...one of my great highlights over the past year Sir Dee

was meeting you - I admire and look up to you so much - and my life has become a reward with you in it.

You have such a first class wit and your writing comes from that pure noble heart of yours - there is only one Micky Dee and I love the man! Signed your beautiful mess of a friend , Sunday 8:59am by Lake Erie in Ontario, Canada


Mimi721wis profile image

Mimi721wis 5 years ago

Beautiful Mickey. I enjoy your reading your hubs so much.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

I Voted this 'Most Awesome Hub' today.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Micky,

This is the third poem I have read and the first that I can leave a comment on. All three pieces have left me feeling profoundly grateful to have been introduced to your work.

Your experiences have provided you with an amazing clarity and perspective. Your writing 'cuts to the chase' amidst all the nonsense of our society, honing in on what is truly important.

I cannot remember seeing a more poignant YouTube than the "1 Marine vs 30 Cops" in your recent hub (I Almost Became an Atheist Today). That was 5 solid minutes of tears for sure at the outrageous indignity of stupid authority, of which I am too sadly aware for completely differing reasons.

I wish you so much peace this season. Not to be forward, I offer you a 'virtual hug' for the service and bravery you have given to our country and 'I' am so very sorry for the shitty way that Veterans in general are treated in our country. Some nurses 'are' very good to our men and women and I only pray that you find them in your future care... keep taking care of yourself and fighting for the tests and treatment that you absolutely deserve.

The drug I would prescribe for you is a little pill called 'kindness and tenderness'. Hugs, mar.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 4 years ago Author

Thank you very much.


jandee profile image

jandee 4 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

Well Micky you certainly came back with a huge piece of Beautiful and emotional writing. So pleased to see you back,keep well.

best from jand....


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

I have been on Hubpages for 17 months now; this is still the best piece of writing that I have come across.

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