When clouds are gray and lowering
and fog obscures the plain,
I sometimes think I catch a sight
of seabags in the rain.
I know it is a vision
too ethereal to last,
but it brings a wisp of sadness
and a haunting from the past.
in Nineteen Fifty-Two—
an administrative landing,
just a unit passing through.
We were mustered at the railhead,
lining up to board a train,
when through the stormy darkness
I saw seabags in the rain.
There was no need to question
why they were lying there
looking lonely and abandoned
in the damp Korean air.
Their owners had gone northward
and would not return again
from where hills of bitter battle
took the lives of fighting men.
Now when fog and darkness gather,
I rarely can restrain
my saddened thoughts of Inchon
and seabags in the rain.
* * *
The author: Sergeant Robert A. Gannon arrived at Inchon as a replacement on a cold, dreary, rainy day. As he waited in ranks while awaiting transport forward, he noticed a large stack of seabags off to one side. He knew without being told that they were the seabags of Marines who had been killed "up north," Marines who would not be coming back. The vision of those seabags stacked in the misting rain never left Gannon. Years later he wrote the words above.