by Cpl. Robert L. Cook
Jan 1942–Sep 1945

 It’s hard to think
of words of cheer,
of ol’ Mr. Claus
and his reindeer.
Of mistletoe and 
stuff called holly
when the boys are
gone away, by golly.

The stores are loaded
with things we don’t need,
from trailer hitch
to pumpkin seeds.
Bells ring everywhere, 
prompting us to fill a need
as if we don’t have a place
for every George
or Lincoln’s face.

Frost grows thick
upon my crown,
don’t know how long
I’ll be around.
I’ve seen much history
since WWII to
present company.
I know I reflect
the nation with this:
Bring them home
without hesitation!

Let not mistletoe
grow withered
before we see
them at our door.
Quickly board
them on a ferry,
make them feel 
welcome & merry,
bind their wounds
and wipe their brows.
Let them know
there's no returning.
Amen!

*     *     *
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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