by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942-Sep 1945

If ever there was mud
it had to be the crud
that lay about on
Okinawa's scene.
Of every place 
they had to be
to take a hill,
or blast a mill
or march along
some stinkin'
piece of ground that
led to somewhere else
just as muddy as the first,
just so you wouldn't feel
let down.

You know what I mean
I know you have seen a
place they called a road
where you trucked
your heavy load
mired in muck
up to your ass.
There ain't no answer
for it, we all of us 
deplore it and
there's not a freakin' thing
that you can do.

And when the man says "Go!"
and you have
no choice to show
then you cuss
the very God 
who got you there.
When your truck's
stuck in a hole,
and they tell you
to "Heave ho!"
well, you might as well
just crawl in there with it.

Of all the shit they
throw as you struggle
with the foe,
there ain't nothin'
that will chill your
ass like the mud.
It will stop a brigade,
put a division
in the shade and
cause a general
to give up 
his flamin' stars.

You all remember well
how you dodged
the shot and shell
with your foxhole filled
with bloody freakin rain
and how you slept
in that mire most
ass deep is a
mystery that they
have yet to solve.

There never was a war
that was fought
from near to far,
that was pleasant
for the bleeding troops.
So take my advice:
think it over
once or twice
before you sign up
for the raggedy-ass Marines.

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

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Okinawa, May 1945 — Drying out after a night's rain
"We sit in the mud . . . and reach for the stars."
Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev (18181883), Russian author.
Narrator, "Enough," ch. 16 (1865).