Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MEN OF WAKE, by WILLIAM ROSE BENET



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

MEN OF WAKE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Men betrayed, of that island a myth and a wonder
Last Line: Theirs the light beyond death—the eternal debt of the living.
Subject(s): Wake Island; World War Ii; Second World War


Men betrayed, of that island a myth and a wonder;
Of a lonely beach, answering thunder with thunder
Under the swooping planes, facing the roar from sea ...
Men outnumbered, afar, who fell for the free.

Men of the Corps who warred till the end and there-after
With wide-open Hell, battling with curses and laughter;
Those with a victory earned that was not to be,
Watching the hordes of the foe wade in from sea ...

Those with five guns, four planes, who blasted wholly
Ships of the foe, while sands in the glass ran slowly,
As from valor's heart the vivid lifeblood runs ...
Men echoing orders, serving and firing the guns.

Men who met death from the sky, and fire and slaughter,
With steady hand and eye, by the bright water ...
Theirs the unwithering wreath beyond our giving,
Theirs the light beyond death—the eternal debt of the living.





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