Peleliu

Last month, 77 years ago, American soldiers began a battle for an airstrip on a tiny island in the Pacific.

I had never heard of it, but I watched a documentary where the last surviving Marines told of the battle predicted to take four days that lasted over two months—the bullets; the mud; of forcing their foes from underground positions with flames; the small strip of hard-baked dirt won at such cost of blood; and a victory that was deemed, in the end, of negligible value.

It was a memory that haunted them and forged unbreakable bonds. One old man told of a simple offering that moved me to tears and to write a poem. I’d like to share it in honor of the Marines who risked and gave everything, and in tribute to the Japanese soldiers who did the same for their country . . . and in the hope that we will do war no more.

Peleliu, 1944

Thirst scrapes the back of the throat
tasting of gunpowder
and shattered dirt,
lips like parched earth
cracked open for an offering of blood.
Thirst cries out
from every cell.

We are walking Thirst
in a waking Hell,
traversing a field of Death.
Nothing here
of Home
or Cause—

Only the man to the right
and left.

One says,
“I have water.”

All turn
with longing
never felt for food
or glory
or even a woman.

With that declaration
Thirst intensifies
from burn to conflagration.

Hand atremble,
he offers his canteen
received by the next
with same and solemn fear,
all eyes watching.

One swallow,
one holy swallow
taken in sacred silence.

No one could stop him
if he took another
or drained it dry
but he takes only one,
enough to wet his mouth
but not slake aching cells.

With both hands, the communion canteen
passes to the next man,
all eyes follow.

One swallow
only one,
all around.

T.K. is a retired police captain who writes Books, which, like this blog, go wherever her interest and imagination take her.

About T. K. Thorne

T.K. is a retired police captain who writes books, which, like her blog, roam wherever her interest and imagination take her.
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4 Responses to Peleliu

  1. Prince Chambliss says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing. Please add me to your list. So bad with computer technology and internet. Want to keep in touch with you and your blog. At long last, I’m working on book 2. Can’t compete with you. Have a 3rd in mind. We shall see.

    I knew a legendary lawyer, who fought at Peleliu. He was tough as leather. So many reasons they were the Greatest Generation. Our time is passing but we’re not dead yet. Thank you so very much.

    Peace,

    Prince

  2. T. K. Thorne says:

    Always wonderful to hear from you! You are already on my newsletter, but I post a blog usually more often than I put out a newsletter and I don’t always link to the blog posts (as I should). I will email you with easy directions of how to “follow” my blog. Peace, my friend and look forward to your new endeavors. Keep writing!

  3. HUGH KNOX says:

    Hi Teresa: you’re amazing that you can cross genres in a single heartbeat.( Ultra Amazing, and it’s all so good). I am so sorry to hear about Sarah. We had such a warm relationship. Since she died at ‘home’ I would imagine it was part of that ‘stroke syndrome’ of which she was always concerned. But she’s with Warren, and your mom, and no doubt they’re in Bliss (speaking from one NDR (near death experiencer) to another. I would love to hear your story one day. 

    So sorry I missed you on the Sunday (if you were there): but my husband had scheduled a Booster Appt. at Walgreens and it happened to be at 11 am on Sunday. Did you sign extra books for Page and Palette? Geezzz, will normalcy ever come back? However, I’m sure at some point I’ll get them.   I hope you and family have been well. I had Covid a year and a half ago, even before tests were here; however, two doctors treated me ‘thinking’ I did, and one still thinks I’m a long hauler with it. But it’s amazing how the shots have seemed to make me better: each one. But I’m not going to worry about it anymore, now they have ways to cure it.  Are you aware Jule is on Hospice Care? Breaks my heart, as she is/was life itself. I hope to see her soon as my Booster shot should be in my system really well. She’s such a special lady. I hope she leaves us in her sleep. Again, so sorry  about Sarah, am STILL sad about Warren, still. But I know from my NDE, as I’m getting older as well, It’ll be just an eyeblink in seeing them again. All this time reading NDE (Near Death Experience books), I have some favorites. Finally, I picked up “Life after Life” by Raymond Moody: a book mentioned in every thing I’ve read regarding near death. Well, it is as great as they say, and a very easy read for those just starting to learn about a condensed version of the afterlife. It’s succinct and a fast read. It is more in line with some of my experience (I was only 3). However, at age 60, the floodgates opened and all I had experienced at that young age came back to me in overload! So I’m truly

  4. T. K. Thorne says:

    Hi Beth, good to hear from you and thank you for all your kind words. I remember you talking about your NDE and I didn’t know Jule was on Hospice Care. I was at the UU but did not get by Page & Palette this trip. Feel free to get a copy of the book(s) there or wherever and I will sign them when we next meet. Glad you got the shots. Take care. ~TK

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