by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942-Sep 1945

I don't suppose
you guys have thought
about seagoing Marines,
like me you tramped 
the sandy beach,
land was always 
in our reach
so solid
and so firm.

But when you stand 
on a moving deck
that ain't too solid,
you can expect
to be a little
ill at ease.

That stuff that lies
below the keel
has a flimsy 
kind of feel and
you can't even
drink the stuff.

And when it's dark
and you’re at sea,
ain't a damn thing
you can see
'cause when it's dark
it’s dark.

Marines aboard those
vessels have a
duty that is varied,
they stand a watch
on open deck
in weather 
that is hairy.

When it comes
to quarters
they are there
their part to play
from manning guns
in action to
keeping fires
at bay.

When kamikaze
strike the vessel
they are there to 
fix its wounds,
 to keep the ship
floating
or else it is
doomed.

I don't know 
about you guys
but I'm not much
of a sailor.
I like the feel
of ground
that I can run on 
all around
and it is there
just when I need it.

You can’t dig no holes
in water that is wet,
you can’t outswim
no bullet,
on that
you can bet.

So maybe they
better chow
and sleep in dry 
conditions,
but please 
don't send me
out to sea without
my permission.

*     *     *
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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Seagoing Marines