by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942-Sep 1945

The darkest dark that I've seen
was when I was a young Marine
I stood those guards in jungles dark
I tell you, man, it was no lark.

You hold your hand before your face
its outline you can barely trace,
a little noise here and there
you think the foe is everywhere.

Time goes by in dragging steps
—forever is a minute,
you hope-to-Christ that your relief
is there before you've spent it.

It doesn't matter if you've done
a hundred watches or just one,
the time you spend in jungles green
as soldier, sailor or Marine
you'll never find another space
as dark as that foreboding place.

*   *   *
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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How Dark the Night