by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942-Sep 1945

The ocean was a cobalt blue
the sky it was an azure hue
the sand below my boot
was black as midnight:
black sand. . .black sand

From the Canal to Jima,
no beach was ever found
that sparkled like a diamond
beneath the tropic sun:
black sand. . .black sand

It soaked up the blood
that came with every shell,
it mired the tracks
of trucks and tanks and
paved the road to hell:
black sand. . .black sand

It wasn't safe to dig a hole
to ward off shot and shell,
it didn't stop the bullets
that sent you off to hell:
black sand. . .black sand

If you escaped that grimy stuff
and had a tale to tell,
you could not forget it
that sand would not dispel:
black sand. . .black sand

So when you sit upon a beach
that sparkles in the sun,
remember when
you hugged the sand
that surrounds
a foreign land;
you did your duty
like a man
there upon that dirty sand:
black sand. . .black sand

*     *     *
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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Black Sand