BATAAN DEATH MARCH


I sat in the guardhouse -- California,
It was after nineteen fifty-eight,

Wearing Army green -- carrying a rifle --
Heard a Filipino Specialist relate

His story of the Philippines in WWII --
A trek across Bataan by the Rising Sun,

I can't remember his family name
So I think of him just as Juan,

The Japanese had thousands of prisoners --
Americans and Filipinos, too,

To rid themselves of this burdensome lot
This is what they decided to do:

They took them out to march till they dropped
Across the Luzon peninsula of Bataan,

Hoping that none of them would survive,
That's what they had in mind for Juan,

Any who dropped got a bullet in the head
So that plan of action was out,

Young Juan, very good at thinking up ploys,
Planned escape from this unfair bout,

Most of the marchers were demoralized
And weak as kittens, too,

You didn't dare stop or execution
Would be their solution for you,

Juan gradually worked his way to the side
And patiently waited for his chance,

Coming up around a bend -- saw a deep ravine --
Assessed it with one quick glance,

Juan took a dive -- head over heels --
The Japanese fired a few rounds,

Our hero was free -- none of them hit him,
All he heard was machine gun sounds,

I thought that maybe Juan had finished his story,
But he went on telling of the thrills

Of his life on the islands, in the Philippine Scouts,
While hiding out in the hills,

Gen. Douglas MacArthur took his troops and left,
The Americans all went with him,

But the Filipinos secluded themselves,
Took supplies and weapons with them,

Little Juan had a farm, a wife and some children --
He visited from time to time,

The Japanese used his home and property --
His wife as a concubine,

Juan came home, posing as a cripple,
The officer in charge came out,

A Japanese Captain, his wife's abuser,
Had no idea what Juan was about,

The Capt. took his pistol -- fired it at a palm tree,
Then turned to Juan and said, "You try,"

Juan said he took the weapon, (eyes flashing like fire),
And shot him right between the eyes.

by D. Edgar Murray