by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942-Sept 1945

He lay behind a sand dune,
his rifle aimed ahead,
the figures on the ground
he knew were very dead.
The morning sun
was wan and cold,
the night had been so very long.
With glasses he had
picked them out and
shot them one by one.

He felt no triumph
in the deed,
no sadness, that is true.
It was just the thing
that he was sent to do.
You cannot be a fighter,
a deliverer of death
and feel a deep emotion 
with every killing breath.

Wars that we're sent to fight
demand a lot from us,
we seldom go forth happily,
we know it is a must.
So we gather courage 
and stand before the foe,
if we ever will return
we really do not know.

So, take heart you soldiers
and you, Mac Marine,
we at home understand
the strife that you have seen.
We know that you'll be different,
no human could be less.
We'll gather you
into our hearts and
take away your stress.

*     *     *
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.

>>>  Poetry Page
>>>  Memoir Page
Ode to a Warrior
Lance Cpl. Philip Cashman
of Syracuse, N.Y., is overcome after a firefight April 10 in the streets of Baghdad.