O comrades whom we
O comrades whom we laid in shallow graves,
O lightly sleeping comrades, have you heard
The sound that beats insistent as the waves?
Up the dark alleys of the jungle-tracks
Where once you stumbled with your monstrous packs,
It flows, the tide that liberates the slaves.
I heard you speaking
in the quiet nights
When all the birds and hushed, crickets still
when the pale fire-flies with their shuddering lights
Cruise in the archipelagos of the hill,
When up the mighty corridors of teak
Along the secret wood way from the creek
Pads the great cat returning to his kill.
When the black shadows
reach across the path,
When from the village dies the evening smoke,
When from the mere streams the sun’s aftermath,
When in the marsh the frogs begin to croak,
The hour when we were wont to bivouac,
To choose our sleeping-place and leave the tract,
Kindle the fire and put the rice to soak.
Then you have spoken,
for you have desired
To Know our varying fortunes, how we fared,
Trudging in weariness but still inspired
To press again the venture that we shared.
Then in the night I was aware of you,
So lightly laid as still to share the dew
Falling on us your friends for whom you cared.
Forest to forest, range
to distant range,
Across the vales your voices speak and say:
“Here where I lie, to-day was nothing strange —
Heard you, my comrade, anything to-day?”
And one makes answer: “Here where we two lie
Four Hundred of our countrymen went by —
We saw them laughing as they went their way.”
And one beside a track more distant yet,
One from a group of graves, some old, some new,
Says soberly: “To-day our comrades met
The enemy by our thicket here, and slew
Twoscore and ten; and some of ours who fell
Lie With us now, and have brave tales to tell.”
And voices call: “Comrades, we welcome you.”
But you who fell beside us, pioneers
Shorn of the future – you who chose to be
The hopeless van of the victorious years
The heralds of the day you could not see:
Your graves shine forth exulting in the dark,
The leading lights of ultimate victory.
O comrades all, the
known and the unknown,
Sleep still as last; your vigil is despatched,
The black defenses of the night are down,
The outmost wicket of the day unlatched.
This day beyond your graves our armies reach,
And now at length the enemy is matched.
AND RETURN THEY DID
WITH THE NEW ADDITION TO THEIR SUPPORTIVE FAMILY
TWENTY-SEVENTH TROOP CARRIER SQUADRON
UNITED STATES ARMY AIR CORPS
THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR “THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN” IN BURMA