The Canal

Guadalcanal, first American Offensive of WWII

The Canal

The tempo of the heart increases so fast,
But it stops all at once with a .25 blast.
Then a "Can" sneaks through and throws in a dud,
And a Leatherneck jumps in a puddle of mud.
The .155 shakes the ground.  Blood in the foxhole,
Blood all around.

Shrapnel screams, Zeros snort; you see the flash,
Then you hear the report.
The whine of the Grumman, the swish of the shell,
The heat of the tracer is hotter than Hell.
The rumble of the Tank is the Devil's own laugh;
Life ebbs away on a downward graph.

The guns of the Japs go "Boomlay, BOOM!"
Ack Ack follows with a jungle tune.
The Sun comes up on the dead all around.
Most trees rest with their trunks on the ground.
In the top of a palm hangs a sniper by his foot.
There's a strafing plane in a pile of soot!

When the dust clear away in a few years more,
And the blood dries up, and there's no more war;
We'll be back in the States with just one thought -
The thought of the lesson that the Solomons taught.

 

GLOSSARY

  • .25 Blast
    • Japanese .25 caliber rifle
  • Can 
    • A Navy Destroyer
  • Dud
    • A round of ammunition that fails to explode.  Dangerous because it may go off at any time, or never.         
  • Leatherneck
    • A 1775 nickname for Marines whose uniforms had a leather collar to ward off sword blows in close combat.
  • The .155
    • Nickname for a cannon that fires a .155 millimeter shell.
  • Zero
    • Designation of a Japanese Fighter Plane. 
  • Grumman
    • Manufacturer of the Marine F4F Fighter Plane.
  • Tracer 
    • A bullet which trails fire behind. They are placed in a machine gun belt of ammunition.  When fired, they give a gunner a visual location of where he is firing.
  • Ack Ack 
    • An antiaircraft gun which, when fired, makes an "Ack Ack" sound.
  • Solomons
    • Solomon Islands where Guadalcanal is located.

 

THE POEM

Written by Bud DeVere when he was 19 years old on the Island of Guadalcanal - August 1942

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