by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942-Sep 1945

I’ve stood a thousand gun watches
on ship and on the shore
and sentry duties on a base
I’ve often thought “What for?”
There is loneliness in that
when you're far from home
you cannot help but feel
that you're all alone.

Of all the watches I have stood
when loneliness was there,
the one that I remember most
was Xmas ’42.

We were hunkered down that night
with enemy just down the trail,
I was sent forward to
keep watch and prevail. 

It was quiet all around
no sound was ever heard,
there was no moon
or silent stars,
I did not hear a word.

I sat upon the wet ground
my rifle at the ready,
my ears were
well attuned,
my nerves
were unsteady.

Imagination played a part,
expectation honed my mind;
I was there all alone,
my thoughts were most unkind.

Many Xmases have past
since that lonely night
but I will ever remember
that solitary plight.
Semper Fi!

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

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Once Upon a Lonely Night