Korean War Poems by Monte Manka
An Octogenarian Writes Poems about His Experiences in Korea
Monte Manka went off to Korea in the 1950s as part of the occupying forces after growing up on a Kansas farm in the 1930s/40s. His experiences in Korea triggered some poetry that's entertaining and insightful.
In his mid-eighties, Monte keeps writing those poems about being a Kansas farm boy and about adjusting to the very foreign culture of Korea and the restrictions of the military. Enjoy his poems and be sure to leave a comment for Monte.
(photo provided by Monte Manka)
Army Training Camp Poetry - by Monte Manka
You can read Monte's poems on the Our Echo website. I'm linking to individual poems so they will be easier for you to find.
- Army Abbreviations
Enjoy the humor of this poem about army abbreviations.
- My First Day with the Terror Squad
Got off the troop train I remember the March 1st1945 date We arrived in Camp Fannin Texas As I remember, mighty late. (click the title to read more of the poem)
- Four Days into the Terror Squad
Another narrative poem by Monte Manka about training camp in Texas.
- A Ton of Respect
A buddy makes it through a grueling day of basic training.
Learn More about the Korean War - books available from Amazon
Most Americans have a very vague concept of what happened during the Korean War, how it started and how it ended. I admit that most of what I know came from watching episodes of MASH on TV.
Learn more about this war that made such an impact on this Kansas farm boy.
Monte Manka's Korean Experience
Monte explains his role in Korea: World War II ended when I was headed for the invasion of Japan. We were called off the troop train in Kansas and told that Harry had dropped the bomb and the war was over. Can't take any credit for any battles, strictly Occupation of Korea. I was in Korea during the occupation, the "Police Action" started after I left for home.
Korean Woman with Parasol - Photo by Monte Manka
Do not use this photo elsewhere.
It belongs to Monte Manka.
Poems about the Korean People and Culture - by Monte Manka
- Little Nell Two-Ten-Yen
If you ever bargained with a Korean (remember you Korean Vets this was 1946) Over eggs, silk or hammered copper pans The bidding always started With a bid of Two Ten Yen (click the title of the poem to read the rest)
- Hiking out in the Korean Boonies
A poem with more adventures in meeting the Korean people. It has great photos with it.
- Buddha Intruder
Another poem about exploring in Korea.
- Korean Wash Day
Korean Wash Day - Writer: Monte Leon Manka. Year: 1945.
- Stroll to a Mystery
Three soldiers going for a Sunday stroll Monte, Mac and Don With Addie Dean, the Red Cross gal Tagging along. I carried Mom's Kodak 116 Ready to take any photo Of some pretty mountain scene (more)
- Rice planting in Korea
Facinating photos with this poem.
- Cruelty of The River Han
The people build their huts Close to the River Han To do their laundry And water for their cooking pan (click the title to read the rest of the poem)
- Break Time at the Shrine
Break Time at the Shrine - Writer: Monte Leon Manka. Year: 1946.
- To market To Market
Photos and poem about an open air Korean market.
- Just another Korean Shrine???
Just another Korean Shrine??? - Writer: Monte Leon Manka. Year: 1946.
- The Korean Cafe
Eating oxen stew in a Korean cafe.
- Surprise ini 1946
Seeing the sights in Korea.
- Walking on the Ancient Side
Visiting a Korean shrine.
- Korean Farmer headed to Seoul
Korean Farmer headed to Seoul - Writer: Monte Leon Manka. Year: 1946.
- Korean Kids and the Kansas Farmer
If you had a camera They were ready at the drop of a hat Posing for us to take their picture We took care of that. (click the title to read the rest of the poem)
- Korea Plowing time
Korea Plowing time - Writer: Monte Leon Manka. Year: 1945.
- Rice Planting Time in Korea, 1945
Two Korean neighbors Hou Soong Yun and Hai Chon Lee Had prepared their paddies For rice planting doncha see, (click the title to see the whole poem)
- The River "Han"
Poem about the flooding of the River Han.
- My Laundry
Primitive laundry methods is the subject of this poem, but it provides insight into the lives of the Korean families.
Korean Women Washing Clothes in a Stream - Photo by Monte Manka
Do not take this photo for use elsewhere.
Poems about R and R - Taking a Break from the Military Occupation of Korea - by Monte Manka
- R and R to Tokyo
After visiting the Ginza After seeing a movie at the Ernie Pyle After coupon dancing at the Medowland dance hall We decided to visit the Imperial Palace for a while. (click to read more)
- Tokyo Girls
When I landed at Tachikawa, air base Turned over the straight jacketed GI's I had a room on the base To where I could unwind. (click to read more)
- The Emperor's Palace
On the first of May Went to the motor pool Checked out a jeep For a trip to Seoul The street that passed by the Palace Was six or eight lanes wide The guard at the gate stopped me He let me go inside (click to read more)
- Rush Hour in Seoul, Korea
Poem about the sights seen in "Rush Hour in Seoul, Korea."
- The Chosun Hotel, Seoul Korea
The Chosun Hotel, Seoul Korea - Writer: Monte Leon Manka. Year: 1946.
- Korean Notions
On the way to Seoul To the 24th corps picture show I had to pass right by the Bung Chung Wouldn't you know? (click the title to read the whole poem)
- Nights in Tokyo
While in the supply office The Captain was heard to say Any one want to fly to Tokyo On the nineteenth of May? (click the title to read the rest of the poem)
- Picnic at Wolmi Do
Excursion with some Army nurses.
- In The Summertime, in Korea
Hiking to see the sights in Korea.
A Sampling of Photos Showing the Korean War
MASH - Complete Set of DVDs
Most people think of MASH when the Korean War is mentioned. They are fun, insightful and you can have the complete set to watch whenever you want.
MASH - Everyone Love the Humor
Korean Shrine - Photo by Monte Manka
(photo may not be reused without getting permission)
Korean War Poems and the Occupation - by Monte Manka
- Army Menu, Korea, Jul. 4, 1946
Humorous poem about Army chow
- Places I Have Been, (Mom's Camera)
A poem about the camera that Monte Manka used in Korea and other places.
- On the Road to Seoul, Korea
A poem about the sights seen along the road in Korea.
- Sent on to Inchon
I was happy to be on dry land After four days at sea On a flat bottomed Navy boat Called an LST (click on the title to read the rest of the poem)
- 29th Gen. Hosp, Korea
That old mountain in the back Looking like a sleeping giant, and at its feet Sprinkled with sleepy little straw topped villages Tucked together, ever so neat (click to read more of the poem)
- A Tenting We Will Go
A Tenting We Will Go compares childhood ideas of camping to the reality of Army camping. - Writer: Monte Leon Manka. Year: 1946.
- 29th. Gen. Hosp, CrewDecember 1945
29th. Gen. Hosp, CrewDecember 1945 - Writer: Monte Leon Manka. Year: 1945.
- Panic in Medical Supply
Panic in Medical Supply when the inventory doesn't match up. A wry look at military rigidity.
- Troop Transport, Cape Cleare
A poem about shipping out to Korea.
LST - Writer: Monte Leon Manka.
- Death at the Seoul, Korea R.R. Station
Death at the Seoul, Korea R.R. Station - Writer: Monte Leon Manka.
- Korean Kleenup Krew
That pipe smoking Sgt And his Korean Kleenup Krew Took care of the 29th. Gen. Hosp. There's nothing they couldn't do. (click the title to read the rest of the poem)
- Mac and Hai Chong Lee
Mac and I were the first two replacements To the 29th Gen. Hospital, in Nov. "45" Since they moved from Guadalcanal Those who survived. (click the title to read the rest of the poem)
- Triip No. 2, to Kimpo, Korea
Triip No. 2, to Kimpo, Korea - Writer: Monte Leon Manka. Year: 1946.
Korean Farmer Carrying a Heavy Load - Photo by Monte Manka
(all rights reserved on this photo)
I close my eyes
Seems like yesterday
When I was in Korea
Thousands of miles away.
More Photos of Monte Manka in the Army
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Counter added May 28, 2012.
© 2011 Virginia Allain