This one is about the U.S. Marines campaign in the high mountains of North Korea around the Chosin Reservoir, in the face of worse than brutal cold and against overwhelmingly superior numbers of
CCF. I served as a marine rifleman in Korea during the war, so this poem is all too real to me.


How deep the cold takes us down,
  into the searing frost of hell;
  where mountain snows,
  unyielding winds, strip our flesh,
  bare our bones.

  The trembling of uncertain hearts,
  scream out to echoes not impressed,
  as swirling mists of laughing death,
  reach out their fingers to compress.

  How white the withered skin exposed,
  turns into black and brittle flesh,
  and limbs cast out from conscious thought,
  still stagger on the arctic frost.

  Immobile does the breath extend
  as crystal on the mountain wind,
  and eyes now fixed in layers of ice,
  see nothing through the dawning light.

  This road that leads down to the sea,
  twists and turns at every bend,
  and Chosin's ice that molds like steel,
  rains the fire that seeks our end.

  The trucks cry out a dirge refrain,
  their brittle gears roll on in pain;
  upon their beds, the silent dead,
  in grateful and serene repose.

  Still the mind resists the call,
  to lie and die in final pose,
  where blood in stillness warms the soul,
  and renders nil the will to rise.

  The battle carries through the night,
  give witness to the dead betrayed,
  when frozen weapons fail to fire,
  their metal stressed by winter's might.

  Still we fight to reach Hungnam,
  in solemn oath and brotherhood,
  as every able-bodied man,
  will bring our dead and wounded home.

  Uphold traditions earned in blood,
  break through the hordes that press us in,
  depress their numbers to the place,
  where waves of dead deny their quest.

          And on to the sea...