It stands there like a shambles
On the stern deck gray as lead,
That creeking, reeking shame to man:
That stinking portside head.
Defying all description
Like something long since dead,
Comes an odor heavy laden
From that rotten portside head.
After a hearty breakfast chow
And everyone's been fed,
You gag again and heave your guts
By that filthy portside head.
The call "Abandon ship" is blown,
You tumble from your bed
And right in line in front of you
Is that putrid portside head.
And if by chance it happens
That this good ship must be fled,
They still must cut your life raft
From that foul-stenched portside head.
And when you have to move your bowels
It's a cinch you'll see red,
For there's hardly ever paper
In that crab-ridden portside head.
So-called wise guys laugh it off,
They use the other side instead,
But the starboard hut, like an unclean slut,
Is the same as the portside head.
So when the battle's over
And for our country we have bled,
I'm attacking in a bomber
That god-damned portside head.
* * *
The author: Lee B. Powell enlisted in the USMC on 17 Aug. 1942. He saw action on Tarawa (1943) and Saipan (1944). On 30 July 1944, Sgt. Powell died on Tinian (Marianas Islands). Click to read the circumstances of his death.