by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942–Sep 1945

I’m sittin on the back porch
a-waitin’ on the dawn,
sleep is still heavy on my eyes
but still I carry on.
I’m checkin’ as the birds
fly in to feed on
proffered corn.

I watch their antics
as they feed,
they squabble for a grain.
They’re  much like we humans,
it’s hard to explain.

It’s then that the memories
come flooding from the past
of things that are nothing:
Why do they last and last?

Like when I’m charging up a hill
with bullets all around,
when the string on my leggings
lets go and sent me down
and a ceasefire
sounded at the time.
Had I stayed on my feet
chances are my defeat
would have marked the day.

On a day of swift attacks,
when I finally hit the sack
and a coral snake crawled
from my blanket roll!
Had I been bitten by that vixen
likely I’d been smitten,
no tellin’ what would
have happened there.

It’s the little things
that getcha when
you least expect it and
you’re least in control.
Things are like that in a battle
and you’re inclined to be rattled
and don’t know quite what to do.

Keep your head and emotions
under hand in the commotion
and you’re likely to withstand.
Loose your cool
and as a rule
you won’t live to see 
the motherland.
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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I'm A-Sittin'