I was lead 
To the path.
Of poetry.
By some famous war poets.
Siegfried Sassoon and Winfred Owen.
And Cpl Robert Lin Cook USMC.
Poem Tarawa of his youth.
In the poem one can almost see.
Marines wading towards a distant shore.
Poems about the dangers of war.
Seek to inform and warn.
~ Ricardo
This poem is about: 
My country
Our world


MillRatUSMC aka Ricardo

By Cpl Robert Lin Cook USMC
The sky is looking
Its inky black,
The sun is but
A thought.
The sergeant looks
Above the bow
And sees the
Outline of an island.
The beach is not
Yet clear,
The churning prop
Thrusts ahead,
Defying every wave.
A thousand yards
To travel
And then!
Above our heads
A sound
We have not heard,
Its rushing passage
Leaves no doubt
Of its intent.
The engine drops
And touches bottom sand.
Troops know the sign
From a dozen landings,
And are poised
To spill over the ramp,
Which has dropped
Suddenly to the
Waiting surf.
Marines surge forward
Through the gap!
The water yet to
It chills them through
Their leggings
And soaks their
Rugged shoes.
But they are not aware
Of this;
There is too much
Of which to think.
The shelling
Of the shore
Has ceased,
The beach comes alive
With flashes of fire.
A rain of projectiles
Large and small,
A buddy falls
In front of you.
You stumble over
His fallen body
And carry on
The forward motion;
You have no other choice.
The water has
Changed its depth,
You are in
With rifle held
Above your head,
You move slowly
Through the brine.
You see and hear
The slaughter
That abounds
Around your shaking
Machinegun fire
Comes from the right,
Its tracers drawing nigh.
You drop to chin depth,
Rifle at the level.
The beach is
Coming slowly,
You have a way
To travel.
The depth becomes
More shallow,
As you take care
To keep alive.
Around you
Are your buddies,
Some floating in the surf,
Their stillness
Can only mean
They have left
This stinkin' earth.
Suddenly you are aware
You have reached
The hard packed
And throw yourself
You hug the earth
To catch your breath,
And peer around you.
As the battle rages
From every port and chink
Your courage has not
Left you.
You muster it somehow
As you crawl forward
To find some kind of
Besides a shatter wall.
The sounds around you
Are deafening.
The screams the worst of all
You see the carnage
Forever you will
You gain the presence
Of your mind
You now know
Your intent.
Forgotten is your
Frozen fear,
You know what
You must do.
The rifle you
Have nursed ashore
Feel strong within
Your grasp.
The flashes that you
First observed
Continue to
Burst forth.
The static sound
Is upper most
In your mind
The pack that
Your advance,
You shed from
Off your back.
And turn your
Attention to
The job that
Is at hand!
You slide forward
Along the sand,
As black as holy hell.
Keeping close
To sheltered wall.
A mortar shell
Lands near you.
It's metal screams
Past your ears
Your helmet keeps
You covered
You could almost cheer.
The gun that you came to get
Is but scant feet away.
It's fire above your head
Keep crawling!
So you tell yourself
Got to make this one
You hold grenade
In your right hand.
Tear the pin out
With your teeth.
Partly rise to
Arch your arm
And let the missile go!
It arches in
A lazy curve
And enters
Into the slot.
The sound it makes
Is like a cord
Plucked on
Harps of gold
No longer does
The chatter sound
It's silence is all
You feel like
You've done your best.
But there no time to rest,
The battle is not over.
And so it goes
From man to man
Each doing best he can.
The sum and total
Of it all,
Is some men live
And some fall.
And some return
To tell us all!
Cpl Robert Lin Cook USMC is now guarding Heaven's gates
May God grant you eternal peace.
We pray.

MillRatUSMC aka Ricardo

Cpl Robert Lin Cook USMC gave me permission to use his poem.

An honor that I can never repay.

MillRatUSMC aka Ricardo

lead should be led

Additional Resources

Get AI Feedback on your poem

Interested in feedback on your poem? Try our AI Feedback tool.


If You Need Support

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741