The Soldier

by | Apr 28, 2009 | Poetry | 0 comments

The sun beats down my back
sweat drips off my brow
and I feel my companions hot breath on my neck
as we march, foot after foot
mile after mile.

Each step brings us closer to the hour of battle
closer to honour
to pieces of metal on our chests
and to the stench of death.

We halt for the night
with an extra tot of rum
and, for the lucky few, opium.

We talk of honour, morality, justice
to pass the idle hours before daylight.
But in the thick of battle
there’s only the heat
and a job to be done.

A leg carried away by cannon shot
an arm lost in the charge
another friend cut down by my side
and the only thought I can spare
“Today it’s him
tomorrow it may be me.”

And so it’s done.
Another battle lived through
another one to look forward to
and we move on.

No loyalty, nor patriotism
Not even a heroes welcome 
keeps us going
What we crave, is clean linen and a warm bed
after our march, foot after foot
mile after mile.


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