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Spring 2005, vol 3 no 1


Feature ~ Edward Tick, Long Haired Warrior

Mrs. Thien is a Viet Cong veteran, a "long-haired warrior" as the women vets are called. She enlisted in the VC and served first as a courier after her school was bombed and destroyed by our American forces.

Amidst dead children
I follow my teacher
into battle

She met her future husband, who became a VC unit commander, while fighting the war. Unlike American GIs, the Vietnamese troops were in the war until it was over or they were wounded or killed. Their company commander married them in a simple jungle ceremony.

I speak my vows
to my man and country –
honeymoon ambush

The couple grew of age and began their family during the war. While fighting and struggling, they had three children.

Nursing babies –
fighting invaders –
war inside and out

Her husband was severely wounded twice, but the entire family survived the war. They began a farm deep in the Mekong Delta, where they still live with their families.

Mangos, chum chums,
dragon eyes, grandchildren –
tides in, tides out

Now they welcome us, offer tea and food, laugh and smile with my group of eight American veteran visitors.

Before you must leave.
Tonight you dream
on my pillow.

To travel, to write, to heal and make peace–these combine into one integrated and essential activity of the soul for Edward Tick.

Born in the Bronx in 1951, Ed makes his home in Albany, NY, near mountains he and his wife Kate Dahlstedt love. Ed and Kate have 3 children. All five practice poetry and other arts.

As psychotherapist, holistic healer, poet, writer, educator and journey guide, Ed directs Sanctuary: A Center for Mentoring the Soul, in Albany, NY. He also co-directs the Center on Violence and Healing at Sage College. Every year he leads journeys to both Greece and Viet Nam.

His first complete haibun collection, The Golden Tortoise: Viet Nam Journeys, will be published by Red Hen Press in April 2005, on the 30th anniversary of the end of the Viet Nam War. Ed has spent 25 years studying the war and helping veterans heal and come home. Tortoise combines haiku and other poetic forms with travel narrative to present the healing and reconciliation journeys Ed leads in Viet Nam.

Ed is also the author of The Practice Of Dream Healing: Bringing Ancient Greek Mysteries Into Modern Medicine (2001) and Sacred Mountain: Encounters With the Viet Nam Beast (1989). His next book, War and the Soul, will be published in Fall, 2005.

Copyright 2005: Simply Haiku