Poetry Break – “Let Me Tell You How I Died” – Iwo Jima

Boy we’re moving fast through the first part of three for my poem epic.  Part I is split into seven segments and covers various angles of WWII.  Here for you is Segment 5 about the Battle of Iwo Jima and the flag raising atop Mt. Suribachi, a moment that I always find moving when I read about it.  Just think, two whole other parts (also each containing seven poems) to go!  Thanks so much to all of you for sticking with it thus far and I hope it continues to move you!




Iwo Jima 

   It’s a small spit of land in the ocean so blue

But we must have it, it’s what we’ve come to do

We crawl ashore at this isolated place

And the tropical sun burns hot on our face


The sand is black, crafted in hell

The whole place is covered with a terrible smell

The enemy hides out in caves underground

It’s impossible to see them sneaking around

They hit us with guns, with artillery and fire

Still we blast up the hillside, we won’t retire

Men fall around me, blown all apart

We must reach the top, we must not lose heart!

Suddenly, I see something through the hellish smoke

Something I know, my passion invoked

There it is!  Old Glory, waving on a flag pole

At the top of Suribachi, we’ve done it!  Our goal!

But that glorious flag is the last thing I will see

Because it was then that the grenade with my name found me

Blasted me to pieces, I’m lost in the heat

Carry on Marines, for we do not retreat


To Be Continued…


To read an intro to this poem epic and how it came about, as well as the first segment, “The Blitz,” click here. 

For segment two, “Stalingrad,” click here

For segment three, “Pearl Harbor,” click here 

And segment four, “Normandy”… here.  

45 Comments on “Poetry Break – “Let Me Tell You How I Died” – Iwo Jima

  1. Wow! I believe you rediscovered your talent for writing poetry! Your poems are very descriptive. I am able to picture everything, grim though the pictures may be. I am anxious for the next segments!

    • Well there’s only two more for WWII, but lots more for two other whole wars. Stay tuned!

    • Thank you Dave! Glad you came by for a read – Sometimes I think I’m going for that feverish feel that you talked about in your blog the other day!

  2. I loved this one – nostalgic for me, as I lived for several years in Okinawa and could see Iwo Jima from there …

    • Oh my goodness! That’s amazing. I would love to visit some of those places someday (although I don’t think you can get on Iwo Jima itself without special permission).

      • The Island of Iwo Jima is considered to be a Memorial by the Japanese. No one is allowed to visit this Hallowed Ground without special permission, that I know of. Yes, it would be nice to actually see this place that so much has happened. I agree that it should be kept as a Memorial for all those that gave their lives.

      • I agree too – it should be preserved. I think one of the few civilian people I know of that got the special permission was the author of Flags of our Fathers. Can you imagine it?

  3. Wow! Wow! Wow! Great poem! When I was reading it, I thought to myself, this is a good way to get students to learn. This poem would be a great introduction to that period in time and to discuss how and what happened. The poem really takes you back in time.

    • I’m so glad it moved you. I love being able to teach through writing so I enjoyed your compliments. Your cakes look so amazing! Love your blog

    • When I read about the black sand in one of the books, it was something that stuck with me the most for some reason. Can’t imagine fighting on that tiny little island! Glad you came by and that the poem moved you

  4. Reading your profile,which I notice by now!I was surprised! For all the soldiers who fought in 硫黄島(correctly, Iwo Tou),it was a cruel environment. “Sand Black”, it’s the Excellent word choice. How professional You are!☺️

    • Iwo Tou, thank you for teaching me! 🙂 You are right, the environment is a major thing that strikes me when I read about this battle.

  5. Wonderful words of recollection and reliving a significant event through your poetry. It reminded me of an event where one of our troops carried the U.S. and Florida flags as they secretly moved into Iraq just before the air war in began in Desert Storm. He posted the flags on a berm as they breached it and moved into position. He was later killed in Baghdad. I’ll post his story one day. Thanks.

    • I shall look forward to reading that! Thanks for sharing a little preview of it here. Glad you stopped by and that the poem moved you.

  6. You have a great gift for words and I am going to share this with anyone that I can because we run a military business here if you look at my blog and it is about getting the parts home to the vehicles that they belong too and being a veteran myself this warmed my heart, and I hope to see many great things coming from you and keep this talent that you have alive, many blessings to you and your family…

    • You’ve made my day. Compliments like this make all the writing struggles worth it! Cant wait to come check out your blog! Thanks so much for the read and the very kind words

  7. Iwo is a place that I know something about. My older brother landed on that beach and fought on that island until it was secured. Perhaps some day I will write about his experience there. I did write a short blog post about that time and you can find it if you go to “writing” in the category list on the sidebar of my blog. The post is titled “Memorial Day”.

    • Ooooh I would love to see you write about his experiences. It would be a powerful story to share with us. I’m going to check out your Memorial Day blog later this afternoon. Can’t wait!

  8. Went through and read each segment again and so glad I did. You’ve done an amazing job. We must never forget the past.

    • I couldn’t agree more – and I am so glad you are enjoying the series. LOTS more coming next year when we dive into the WWI and Civil War parts 🙂 I will look forward to having you along for the ride!

  9. Pingback: Poetry Break - "Let Me Tell You How I Died" - Part I Finale - An Old Soldier - M.B. HENRY

  10. Very patriotically written with a beautiful tribute and carry of spirit , M.B. I hope that it continues to thrive somehow in our USA military of today.

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