Unspoken Word

— L.S. Collison






This work-in-progress is inspired by the personal wartime service album of Harry M. Collison, Jr. – my father — a kind and patient man with a good sense of humor; a man who, after the war, married, worked many years for Egli & Gompf, a Baltimore engineering firm, and fathered three daughters. I am the middle one.



Field Notes…

I am a stranger in this jungle

but so is the Enemy

Miles from our homelands

neither of us belong

we have that in common

Me and my brothers, sons of Devil Dogs, we

were sent out here

to the South Pacific, the Solomon Sea

a continent and an ocean away

from Dad, Muz, sister Suze

safe back home (I pray)

where I grew up and learned a draftsman’s trade

Suddenly Pearl Harbor appeared on the map

and off to Parris the Island was I

a green recruit

They taught me how to kill a man and how

to save his life

They made me strong, they broke my ass

USMC Private First Class

then off to Lansing where I learned to draw


Now armed with pencil, notebook and

M1941 Johnson

I’m following the barefootsteps of a native scout


he knows these hills and ravines

his backyard for fifteen years

Cock-sure as I was his age

Now I’m old at twenty-one

Alert and on point, he can wield that knife

Wary of the invaders —

crocs, snakes, japs, joes

aussies, kiwis, poms, mosquitoes

This kid has never heard anyone speak



he knows his way up the Tenaru

the real Tenaru, not Alligator Creek,

he reads it like the palm of his hand

Me and Johnson we’ve got his back

on this hellish field party upriver

to chart the jungle

to make a map

– lsc

copyright 2023 Linda Collison