How ironic that when I enlisted
For something to do and some time wasted
Now there's a war the jokes on me
Four years of peacetime I'll never see

Not even knowing what was in store
We're eager as beavers off to war
They keep telling us we're the best in the world
The band is playing the flag is unfurled

Ship life is boring a wave is a wave
One day is like another it's action I crave
Soon enough now my needs will be met
Will I be a brave soldier or a cowardly vet

Will I be like I think strong and sound
Or like I feel when the butterflies go round
Will I be a hero just like John Wayne
Or a marker on a grave with just rank and name

The beach is empty there is no one in sight
Perhaps when we get there we won't even fight
There's a dreadful jar as the boat hits the sand
My heart is in my throat my rifle in my hand

My fear is mounting there is no turning back
Eyes searching for cover in case of attack
The gunner comes the machine gun is set
Its' power reassures me I'll get through this yet

Months have gone by and life has been good
We haven't seen the enemy from where we stood
A few others have died so what do I see
It's bright and clear better them than me

Our objective a hill we must get to the top
Killing as we climb with never a stop
The joy of destruction is wild in my head
But it's coming down fast some buddies are dead

Onward we drive the jungle we pierce
Right into an ambush the fighting is fierce
The wildness is gone the glint in the eye
For now it is you and not just them who die

Darkness is near for them it's just right
They know the terrain can't be seen at night
Dig a hole as deep as you can
Not to hide in fight like a man

Through the blackness of the deepening night
The wounded scream the rest of you fight
The mind starts to scream a terrible warning
No matter what you do there will be no morning

Then you start giving up and think back on life
The child you never saw your pretty wife
No more sunrise no more spring
Think of death and what it will bring

When you get to the bottom there comes a stop
Be strong be mean get back to the top
Make them learn that life means a lot
It's not very much but it's all you got

Keep holding out the dawn will arrive
Important only is that you survive
Kill Kill Kill they all look the same 
Pull the trigger and play the game

Patch up the wounded bag up the dead
You were mean as hell and the enemy fled
Another objective the next hill the same
Pull the trigger and play the game

Funny those jokes your friends helped you make 
Like the guy with the rifle that was only a rake
The prisoners you told were free to go
Got shot in the back to liven the show

You came here a boy you go home a man
With your medals your ribbons and a pretty good tan
Asked how it was you reply with pride
I had a job to do and I took it in stride

Ten years have gone by now I think of the game
I feel disgust and terrible shame
I got myself through it by going insane
The memory of it now has left only pain

Our leaders sent us over in planes and boats
For a pat on the back and a few more votes
One man's opinion is surely his
Making rapid changes when it hits close to home

What I'm trying to say is what did we gain
A few made some money and a few achieved fame
Thousands of boys are gone for good
Fighting a cause none understood

Marko Whiteley

I was going out with an English teacher in the early seventies who was interested in getting training in group psychotherapy. She was always impressed with my stories when I was willing or able to tell them. She encouraged me to buy a notebook and write them down. One night while working the graveyard shift I started thinking about Hastings and this poem came screaming out of me. I had only written one poem in my life but this one seemed to possess me. I finished it in one eight hour shift. Please excuse my bitterness, it's how I felt at the time.