by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942–Sep 1945

Now I ain’t never lived
high on the hog,
greens n’ taters,
beans n’ bread
is how my Mama
kept me fed
and I grew to be
a fine Marine.

I was up every mornin’
afore the sun was high,
slopped the hogs
and fed the chickens
and everything t’was nigh.
And then I
went to breakfast
that my Mama cooked
on that old coal stove
from which ashes 
I took.

We bought a slab of bacon
with the skin upon its back,
 then my Mama sliced it
'cause she had the knack.
Our chickens roved the yard
and fed upon the grass,
when we needed eggs
we didn’t have to ask.

Then along came FDR
and things begin to change.
My Papa got a job
with the WPA;
it didn’t pay a lot
but it was better’
than naught
and it kept us up
along the way.

Then the war came along
and I were nigh eighteen
so I hustled down to sign up
in the U.S. Marines.
They sent me down to PI
and put me through the mill.
I must’ve done alright
or I’d be there still.

Well, I served
my time in ranks
from infantry to tanks
and I picked up 
a stripe or two.
When they finally
shut it down I was
glad to be around and
I’ll bet you were too.
Simper Fi!

*     *     *
The author: Robert Lin 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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Livin' High