Evacuating a wounded comrade

Food for Thought: 3 a.m.

David Connelly

They moved in unison like dancers in a ballet,
the spider 20 inches from my rifle,
the Vietcong 20 feet farther out, in-line,
each slowly sliding a leg forward.
I let the man take one more step,
so as not to kill the bug.

Activity: “Food for Thought: 3 A.M.”

David Connolly is an American who served in Vietnam. His poem, though written about his facing an enemy Vietcong soldier, could actually be about a soldier in any country or during any war. It is about coming to a realization about how war changes your perspective, your feelings and for a very brief time, your heart. Connolly was 19 when he faced his enemy. Read through “Food for Thought” again and then answer the questions below.


  1. What was going through Connolly’s mind as he looked down his rifle?
  2. How would you describe the poet’s emotions at this moment in time?
  3. Why are these seconds in Connolly’s life so important?
  4. What is he saying about himself in this poem? What meaning is evidence of this by the title?
  5. How is it that this poem can tell you in just a few lines more about what is happening on the battlefield than a descriptive paragraph might convey?