Going for a crap was the most hazardous thing one could do some times. Grab your rifle, brownie film and entrenching tool, go out through the machine gun pit. Say 20 metres or so out in front, scratch out a hole, drop the trousers, face out holding your rifle, squat and commence.

Taking a leak was also something that was done with care, usually against a tree and not a splatter on the leaves on the jungle floor that could be heard for some distance.

This poem was written because no one would ever know how it was done, or even thought about it, or probably really cared.

Have you ever stopped and wondered, when going out to s**t
What would happen if you're out there and the Viet Cong should hit

With the bullets flying round you and your pants around your knees
Would you calmly finish business and crawl back through the trees

Or would you constipate that instant and wet yourself instead
And wish it was a nightmare and you'd wake up safe in bed

But maybe you'd crawl back, hugging close along the ground
Hoping like hell that your bum won't catch a round

And once inside the harbour and safe behind your pack
You smell that on the crawl you've bought your business back

Peter M. Anderson, W3 Coy, 1969-70

Read more about Peter Anderson's Vietnam experience here.

Reference: 

© Peter M. Anderson. Not to be published or reproduced without the permission of the copyright holder.

How to cite this page: 'Crapping - Poem', URL: http://www.vietnamwar.govt.nz/memory/crapping-poem, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 5-Sep-2013