'Nam is short for Cheltnam

by Albert Semple, 11 May 2024

  1. Feels strange being back
  2.  After all these years
  3.  Back in 'Nam

  4. The journalists and politicians -
  5.  They might call it by it's full name,
  6.  But to us veterans
  7.  We only need the final syllable.
  8.  Us veterans call it 'Nam.

  9. Us veterans all remember the journey here.
  10.  Chepstow, Lydney, Gloucester,
  11.  Then unceremoniously ejected
  12.  Into the jungle of Montpellier.

  13. A native man sits by the Promenade trail.
  14.  He tries to communicate with me
  15.  But I can't understand what he's trying to say.
  16.  I never learned to speak Cheltnamese.

  17. I did 2 tours here:
  18.  A city break with my wife in 2010;
  19.  And a shopping trip in 2013.

  20. Us veterans all remember:
  21.  Our feet cracked with blisters
  22.  From the relentless march from shop to shop;
  23.  Our fingers rubbed red raw
  24.  From carrying someone else's shopping bags.

  25. You weren't there, man.

  26. A lot of good men died in 'Nam.
  27.  Many of them died of old age
  28.  Sleeping peacefully in their huge Georgian mansions
  29.  Leaving massive inheritances to their progeny.
  30.  A lot of good men died.

  31. Now us veterans,
  32.  We sit in Imperial Square
  33.  Sharing tinnies
  34.  And remembering Captain Holst
  35.  And the men who didn't make it.

  36. You weren't there, man.
  37. You didn't stand with us in 'Nam.
  38. Cheltnam.

by Albert Semple
38 lines over 10 stanzas.