Poem believed to have been written by 2nd Lt. Jacques Merrifield
while he was a POW at Cabanatuan POW Camp in the Philippine Islands
There were strangest things done under the tropic sun
by men in khaki drill
These tropical nites held strange sights
that would make your heart stand still
Those mountain trails could spin some tails
that no man could ever like
But worst of all was after the fall when they started on the hike.
Twas the eight of December in '41
when they hit Hawaii as the day begun
Twas Sunday morning and all was calm
when out of nowhere came the bombs*!?
It didn't last long but the damage was done
America was at war with the Rising Sun
Now over the Philippines we heard the news
It shook every man clean down to his shoes
It seemed like a dream to begin
But soon every soldier was fighting man
Each branch was ready to do its part
Artillery, infantry -- Nichols and Clark
But they came on that Monday noon
They hit Clark Field like a typhoon
That Monday nite the moon was clear
They razed Nichols Field from front to rear
As days went by more bombers came
until only a few P-40s remained
The day before Christmas they said retreat
and no more soldiers could be seen on the street
So across the bay we moved at night
away from Manila and out of sight
deep in the jungle of Bataan,
were fifteen hundred to make the stand
Here we fought like a soldier should
As the day went by we spilled our blood
Tho' the runners came and went by night
that convoy never came in sight.
April the seventh was the fatal day
when word went around that we could stay
that the front line was due to fall
and troops moved back one and all.
The very next day the surrender came
and then we were men without a name
You may thin that here's where the story ends
but here is where it actually begins
Tho' we fought and didn't see victory
The story of that march will go down in history.
We marched in columns of four
sweating, living the the horrors of war.
When a man fell along the way
A-C-B would make him pay
For those four months he fought on Bataan
and they killed him because he couldn't stand
The tropic sun would sweat us dry
For the wells were few that we passed by.
On we marched for a place unknown,
a place to rest, a place to call home.
Home that you might know
but home to a man who suffered the blow
On to camp O'Donnell in a mass
some never again through the gates to pass
In Nipa Huts we lived like beasts
and rice and camotes were called a feast
Our minds wondered of days gone by
when our throats were never dry
of our wives, mothers and friends
Of bygone days, and of many sins.
About four thousand passed away
And how many more no one can say
For no grave stones mark the spot
where thirty to fifty were buried in a lot
Piled together like a rubbish heap
The remains of the men who were forced to retreat.
So I want to state and my words are straight
And I bet you think they are true
If you got to die it's better to try
to take them along with you too.
Now it's them that took you that fateful day
It's them that count you morning and nite
It's them again that you want to fight
It's them that make you as you are
But it is not them that will win this war
For the men in khaki will come some day
and take us back to the good old U.S.A.
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