A poem

I’ve gotten this poem in my inbox in one form or another since my first Christmas as a Marine. This version is my favorite. Thanks go to Zanelle who sent it my way this year because she still remembers what it means to me.

Merry Christmas folks.

T’was the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give
And to see just who in this house did live.

As I looked all about, a strange sight did I see,
No tinsel, No presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand,
On a wall hung pictures of a far distant lands.

With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
A sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I’d seen,
This was the home of a U.S. MARINE.

I’d heard stories about them. I had to see more,
So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor of his one bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not at all how I’d pictured A U.S. MARINE.
Was this the hero of whom I’d just read,
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean shaven, his weathered face tan,
and I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families I’d seen tonight,
Owed there lives to these men who were willing to fight.

Soon around the nation the children would play,
And grown ups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month and all year,
Because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help but wonder, how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas eve, in a land far from home.
Just the thought brought a prideful tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awakened, for I heard a rough voice,
“Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice.
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more,
My Life is my GOD, my Country, my Corps.”

With that he rolled over, and drifted off to sleep,
I couldn’t control it and continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still,
I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.

I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
I covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
With eagle globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.

Though it barely fit me, I swelled with pride,
For one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.
I didn’t want to leave him, so quiet in the night,
This guardian of honor, so willing to fight.

But half asleep he rolled over and in a voice so clean and pure,
Said “Carry on Santa, It’s Christmas day and the country’s all secure.”

One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas, my friend, Semper Fi and Good Night.

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The author.Born in the year of the Dragon, the author grudgingly accepts the fact he has too many interests and not enough time. A cyclist as long as he can remember, an avid yet inconsistent writer since age eleven, and a U.S. Marine since age twenty-one, the author also adds peak bagging, diving, snowboarding, and computers to his list of interests. Incidentally, he is aware of his inability to make a living from any but the Corps. The author accepts this as fact and remains optimistic. Feel free to drop him a line.

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