For some reason, warriors must leave a bit of their experience behind. It may take the form of letters, diaries, songs, or poems.
Some were prolific in their letters. Some were sparse (e.g., in training, Lou Ives’ mother wrote a letter to his skipper asking why her son couldn’t write letters home). Most letters treated the operational matters only superficially. Only a few dealt with details or personal feelings.
A few of the troops kept diaries. Fewer yet wrote articles or books.
And then the songs—most could not be sung in public--were basically simple and easily forgotten. The songs that buoyed men’s souls were usually about things close to heart—and were sung acappella with loud voice and poor melody—to familiar and popular tunes.
Most heartfelt themes, however, were rendered to poetry—by those few with the talent for poetry—and most of these poems could be read in public.
Some poems were written by the chaplain or possibly someone of the skipper’s staff to be sent by blinker or TBS to other ships in the force, but most were written by the hand-on-the-throttle guys.
A few of the poems are included here, along with some short prose that seemed appropriate.