in the south pacific

Standard

his war stories
were never about shooting

that army air corps cook
talked more about trading cans

for fruit, or fishing for giant turtles
when the supply ships sank

stretching tea into thin tinted water
to drink with powdered egg breakfasts

when the ships from Australia did not land
he still had soldiers to feed

no glory in the practical
no praise in the day-to-day

but he fed caught or traded meat
to fill the martyr-heroes

as well as the mundane ones
who fueled the planes

he watched U-boats in the distance
prowl like metal sharks smelling blood

one quiet man, feeding other men
who pushed back war

they were all heroes

***for Dverse poetry prompt:  History

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52 thoughts on “in the south pacific

  1. they were all heroes…and the cooks and other support troops were just as needed…often overshadowed by the ones on the front line they def make it possible for the others….bet he still had some pretty cool stories….

  2. Yes, they were (and are still) all heroes. From the cooks to the medics, to the dog handlers, to the mechanics, to the soldiers or the fighter pilots, every one of them a hero. Loved this word paint of someone who obviously saw a lot of it himself and the U boats prowling like metal sharks smelling blood was quite the image.

  3. stretching tea into thin tinted water
    to drink with powdered egg breakfasts

    I just loved those lines as to me you captured an entire era in a few words and that takes some talent. Nicely told heroes tale.

  4. Nice to hear the stories of those that made the food appear and tents arrive. Recent history programme explored how ‘logistics’ was the deciding factor in most battles and wars rather then Generalship’

  5. “no glory in the practical
    no praise in the day-to-day”–

    Though I see you are fixing that! I love this part:

    “he watched U-boats in the distance
    prowl like metal sharks smelling blood

    one quiet man, feeding other men
    who pushed back war”

  6. …and sometimes i think those that are not so obviously seen, that do their work silently and mostly in the dark are the real heroes…how could they have fought without being fed…nice..i like

  7. hedgewitch

    Compelling capture of life in wartime, and of the man. I’ve heard a lot of those war stories in my day, that were the parts they could tell wives and kids…the darker tales, those are not told at home, I think.

  8. This is a beautiful homage to the cooks and logistic people … they were all heroes along with the troops… this is a great image: “he watched U-boats in the distance
    prowl like metal sharks smelling blood”

  9. A small arch point in what is otherwise a grand take with some wonderful personal touches – would one have been looking for U-Boats in the South Pacific? We’rent they in the Atlantic? Or was U-Boats a generic term for submersibles?

  10. danadampier

    My father was a cook in the Air Force for a couple years… he also worked in the hangers.They are all heros… they gave their time and alot of times their life for us,

  11. They also serve who only stand and…cook. And are so often unrecognized. Thank you for reminding us that heroes are not only to be found on the front lines.

  12. Often the heroes toiling in the background are not sung! A daughter fills this gap, thanks to her attentive ear, a wonderful memory, nimble fingers, a warm voice and an arresting tongue!.

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