by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942-Sep 1945

I march when I am walking
I stand up straight and tall,
I keep me in fair fettle
in case the Corps should call.

I know that I'm dreaming,
my time in rank long gone
but still it keeps me ready
so I can carry on.

I've charged the shores Guadalcanal
and Tarawa's bloody sand,
I know the meaning and the fear 
of standing to the man.

They didn't ask, "Will you stay?"
when mustering out the ranks,
I've thought about it many times,
would I have said, "Yes, thanks!"

For warriors grow weary
as battles come and go and
young'uns often make mistakes
about things they do not know.

If I stayed there in the Corps
and served my twenty-plus
I would not walk or stand more tall
for the Corps in all of us.

*     *     *
The author: Robert Lin Cook served with Reg. Weapons Co. (2d-2d) from 1942-44, at Guadalcanal and Tarawa during a 33-month overseas tour.

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Ode to An Old Marine