Ballad Of A Bushman ~ Written by Wendell Brown
A Homeless Veteran of the United States Armed Forces
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Some clustered bushes shelter me,
In loneliness and misery,
They shield me from the wind and cold,
And help keep back what hopes I hold.
I gave my best for Uncle Sam,
And came back dead from Viet Nam,
When afterwards at home again,
Just one among forgotten men.
My world had changed, I was alone.
Nobody cared. No welcome shown.
From eyes of stranger, eyes of friends
My heart was broken, would not mend.
Such awful scenes of dead mankind
Blood-soaked the regions of my mind.
For me the loss of days, long gone,
Leave me no choice, but to wander on.
What do I seek and do not find?
Where is the comfort for my kind?
No cheerful hearth awaits for me.
My days plod on eternally.
But wait I say don’t pity me.
I have the mountains and the sea.
I’ve watched the cities sprawl and grow,
With “people-boxes” row on row.
I’ve seen men slaving lives away.
Pursuing money night and day,
Confined in concrete kennels high,
Commercial treadmills in the sky.
I too need money, that is true.
In meager bits I beg from you.
I am not proud, I have no wealth.
I am thankful just to have my health.
My wants are few, but this I’ve found,
What peace is mine, comes from the ground.
God’s friendly bushes are my “pad”
They gave what little ease I’ve had.
They know full well I sometimes cry.
They know, as I, that men must die.
Before that time I want life
With simple comforts, kids and wife.
For now, I live the life I’ve got.
A victim of the war I fought.
The bushes know, I’m sure they do
They shelter me, and others too.
They always greet me as a man.
They keep me warm as best they can.
They shade me from the blazing sun.
And welcome me when the day is done.
But how long will my bushes stand
As urban growth spreads across the land?
I pray for bushes. Let them be.
They make a “home” for now, for me.
This poem was read at the 1888 deed awareness event on March 3rd, 2013 at the National Veteran’s “Park” in West Los Angeles