Wouldst thou ever know what could possibly
     be of such importance that thoughts of loss
and total separation; scary to me
     fair memories of equipment SO boss.
There among the rain, the sleet and the snow
     a greater friend no one shall ever find
           its loyalty leaves nothing to question
In the deep forest when chilling winds blow
      or icy treacherous mountains, snow-lined
          it permits a cozy sleeping session.

It is the greatest — the GREATEST by far
     favored by those who bear a heavy load
where every extra ounce makes soldiers spar
     o’er who must bear it while marching the road
Mine woobie — most illustrious of make
     simplicity is thy life-blood motto
          True joy is its polyester finish.
It lets me nap anywhere — piece of cake,
     filling with joy like a rifle on auto.
          Its greatest traits will not soon diminish.

But not just when outside, no, clearly not
     inside a barracks or shelter or hut
or when bed for a while shall be a cot
     and giving tired eyes their chance to shut.
‘Tis always there when needed, never gone
     for in my ruck pocket, it fits quite snug
          and provides a break, even on a bus.
One guy in my platoon wore his like a swan
     as he mocked the XO when beer we’d chug
          or get locked out (somehow) making a fuss.

And now, to live without you, my heart breaks
     I had to give you back to C.I.F.
It leaves behind awful pain that still aches
     driving around aimless, blaring Mos Def
No amount of hip-hop or booze shall fix
     the emptiness left by my prized sweetheart
          disappearing into bureaucracy.
The loss hits me like a pallet of bricks
     But we shall not be long apart
          I shall — I swear! — be warm again with thee.

Artwork by Marc Osborne

2 Responses

  1. Debra

    The woobie in ode looks like a poncho liner. My oldest daughter now 41 years old had one when she was a toddler. Lost it somewhere in all of our moving around. She was never military but her dad was USMC. When she got older her husband bought her one from a surplus store. She still has hers and she purchased one for her daughter who is a senior at a military academy.

  2. Ann G.

    To a civilian, this was a big surprise. Glad I looked it up. There are many fond testimonials to this humble piece of field gear, posted on the web and on YouTube– love songs, even!


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