Straight from the heart 

Poetry from our Pocahontas County boys in uniform in WWII

Laura Dean Bennett
Staff Writer
 
Here are a few of the poems written by our World War II soldiers that have been preserved in a collection by Juanita Lorine Beale, daughter of Charlie C. and Eva Hannah Beale.

This collection is available to the public in the History Room of the McClintic Library.
 
by Ralph W. Taylor

I looked long at the map today,
And, oh, it is so far,
Across the little painted squares,
To that one where you are.

I breathed a single wishing kiss
Across the starry blue,
And unless it’s tangled in the stars
It should be reaching you.
 
~~~

by Roscoe Dilley

Can’t write a thing;
The Censor’s to blame,
Just say that I’m well,
And sign my name.
 
Can’t tell where we sailed from
Can’t mention the date,
And can’t even number 
The meals that I’ve ate.
 
Can’t say where we are going
Don’t know where we’ll land
Couldn’t even inform you
If met by a band.
 
Can’t mention weather
Can’t say if there’s rain,
All military secrets
Must secrets remain.
 
Can’t have a flashlight
To guide me at night,
Can’t smoke a cigarette
Except out of sight.
 
Can’t keep a diary,
For such is a sin,
Can’t keep the envelope
Your letters came in.
 
Can’t say for sure
Just what I can write
So I’ll call this my letter,
And say “Good-Night.”

~~~

The Ranks
by J.W.P.

Our legions now march from the valley,
In strong lines for battle they go,
To form at the front they will rally,
And carry a fight to the foe.
 
O shelter their heads from the hail,
Shield the home from the storm,
Shelter poor children frail,
Keep our aged from harm.
 
The trumpet and pibroch are calling,
We hear the long roll of the drum
Though harvest of war be appalling,
With faith of our fathers they come.
 
~~~

Mail Call in the South Pacific
by Denny W. Sharp

There are sad things seen on these Islands green
But the saddest I’ll venture to say
Is the anguished trace on a ship-mates face,
When he’s told, “There’s no letter today.”
 
Now I’ve seen them lie, while waiting to die,
Yet gladness their face express,
With a letter torn and badly worn
Like a jewel to their heart was pressed.
 
O Folks back there, we know you care
And you’d stake your lot for us all
But the greatest joy you can bring
Is his name at the old mail call.
 
It’s the same old sight from morn ‘til night,
And the same routine and such
That gets a guy, tho’ he’d gladly die,
Before he’d give an inch or as much.
 
But your mail from home takes our mind to roam,
From the worry and cares of war
And makes it seem like a pleasant dream
And brings us home once more.
 
~~~

Things I Miss
by Ralph D. Coberly
 
I miss my home in Marlinton
I miss my friends so dear
I miss everything so dear to me
Since I came over here.
 
I miss the singing of the birds
The humming of the bees;
I miss the hunting on the hillsides
Among the rocks and trees.
 
I miss the buzzing of the old sawmill
The tannery not far from the track
I miss the gang at Wib’s pool hall,
But someday I’ll come back.
 
I miss the things I did not know I loved;
I wanted to be on the run,
But there’s no place I’d rather be
Than dear old Marlinton.
 
~~~
P.F.C. Raymond Meeks writes his mother,
Mrs. Bertie Rose, of Hillsboro

Hello Mom:
Here I sit with pen in hand
Writing to you from a distant land;
This letter I know, you’ll be glad to get
Although it’s short, and that I regret.
But nevertheless, I want you to know,
That I’ll be thinking of you always,
Wherever I go.

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