by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942–Sep 1945

It’s three a.m.
and I cannot sleep,
along life’s trail
my mind does creep.
I think of men
with whom I’ve served
and wonder if they
they still prevail.

Is Palovino still a cook?
Is Corbert still a pain?
Are McGee, Hevener
and Marone still
playing at the game?
Did Master Sgt.
E.E. Smith
stay in for thirty?

I roll and toss
and toss and turn,
for sleep
I really yearn.
My mind refuses
to turn off,
so brightly does it burn.

I see a beach
ahead of me and
hear the sound
of firing, the
ramp goes down
and out we charge;
there were no thoughts
inspiring.

To left and right of me
marines begin to fall.
A fear is running
thru my mind,
a feeling I recall.
There are no heroes 
on this beach,
we have but one 
intention:
to reach the safety
of the wall;
we are not in
contention.

We held that pitiable
piece of sand
and brought
our banner home.
There were holes
and ragged tears
but it was ours
and ours alone.

Though time has dimmed 
the picture grim, it's
still there inside me.
I shall never,
ever forget that
bloody beach
and tide.

Each year in November
I think of this time
when by pure
guts and valor
we and the Corps
survived.
Semper 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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In Dark of Night