THE AUGUST COUNTERPUNCH * Guadalcanal/Tulagi, 8 August 1942 - Dick Raymonds August Poem

Somewhere east of New Guinea,
  North of New Hebrides,
Lie the steaming Solomon Islands,
  Fringed with coconut trees–
Bearded with coco palms, they are,
  And acrawl with Japanese!

On Guadalcanal's dank lowlands,
  Washed by the jungle rains,
The Japs were building an airstrip,
  Gathering men and planes,
Ready to strike at the vital ships,
  Cutting the thin sea-lanes.

Men of the First Division
  Readied and put to sea,
Where the Solomons lay a-festering,
  With Guadalcanal the key–
On the points of our cold, keen bayonets
  Lay our hopes of victory!

Tulagi's landing was bitter,
  But the Navy lost a fight–
The Japs sneaked into the channel
  And struck like snakes, in the night.
The Navy fled with the cargo ships,
  And the beached Marines sat tight.

By night and day, the enemy
  Ferried his troops ashore,
And raw Marines learned rapidly
  From masters of jungle war,
In the cruelest kind of training school
  Since the founding of the Corps.

The Japs attacked in the darkness,
  And our lines were hotly pressed,
But Edson's Raiders destroyed them,
  (He gave his name to the crest),
The enemy colonel burned his flag
  And went to die with the rest.

The rifleman lived in his foxhole,
  And the pilot slept in a cot,
But they shared the Japs and the jungle,
  The bombs and the jungle rot–
The infantry guarded the vital field,
  And airmen patrolled The Slot.

(A single Army regiment
  Shared a hundred savage frays
With the tough Marines, in the jungle,
  Through nights and the bitter days,
"They fought like Marines," said the Raiders,
  That was their highest praise.

Guadalcanal is conquered,
  And the weary days are done–
The tide of war is turning,
  But the fight has just begun.
There's another beach to seize and hold,
  Another isle to be won.

* I wrote quite a few little ballads while off duty in my years in the Corps.  This is not one of my better ones–anyone nowadays who uses the term "Jap" is asking for trouble–but I was on what would today be called the learning curve. In retyping these poems for publication, I edit only for errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation, not to prettify the phraseology.  Please consider them in the context of their time.

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