We are Soldiers

by | Dec 5, 2008 | Poetry | 0 comments

If you ask me
why we are here,

what can I say.

We are always here.

We are the soldiers
since the first days,
ever present
where you send us.

bring us into being.
We are your power made flesh

When Alexander
pointed east

we poured
from the hills of Macedon
defeating armies without pause

We marched to the known boundaries
and beyond
and conquered the world

When Caesar’s
lightning strikes took Gaul
our studded sandals
kept the pace.

In far Hibernian
we drank thin wine.

Eyes ever northward
we diced at the end of Empire
on the Frozen Wall

When our lords mounted
their War Chargers
and wore the cross
upon their chests

to take Jerusalem
in the name of Love

it was our feet that
hardened on the burning sand,
our skin that blistered
under searing skies

our bodies left by Saladin
between the Horns of Hittim,
where the army died –

died to redeem their souls,
there where the world will end.

We are the soldiers,
sometimes prized
but often spurned.

We were the shield wall
on Hastings Hill,
the slaughtered thousands
on Marston Moor.

Your bows
scythed us down at Agincourt,

we were the Forlorn Hope
who breached the wall at Badajoz.

We were the line at Waterloo,
the lost generation of the Somme,

We hung on the wire at Ypres
with gas filled lungs
as sharp whistles blew
to signal death once more.

We fell in the shallows
at Dunkirk sand
as Stukas dived
and strafed,
siren wails of plunging death
to freeze our souls.

We waded chest high on Omaha Beach
whilst bullets cropped our lives.

We died in Changi
under burning sun.

In the Khyber, 5,000 of us killed
and one alone survived,
a British Army
slaughtered in the snow.

Now seven generations
have circled round
and our sons sons

Both sides it is the same –

friend or foe,
no matter the cause
we wear the mask
of our ancestors

as blood spatters
the bright poppies
in Helmand’s Fields.

We are the soldiers everywhere.
We bring you peace

and the booming sounds of war
which resonate through every age.

We bring you peace and
the deep beat of the galley drum
when oars rise and fall to ramming speed.

We are the soldiers
whom death divides
until that Millenium starts
with the Lord of Peace

and Cain’s footprint
is erased by Love.

But first the sword
to mark
and clear.

If you ask me why we are here,
what can I say ?

It is your folly
that brings us

are your own image
baked hard in clay
at mid- day’s urgent call.

are your own shadow
prised from flesh,

stolen in the white sun
of Hiroshima’s furious noon,

the living vaporised
only shadow surviving,

shadow caught and printed
onto stone, flung
by the fierce heat of stars
which bloomed

when matter was unstitched

and atoms fell apart
in raging fire
to consume a world.

We were the soldiers then
who fell and lived

we are the soldiers now
who rise and die

We are soldiers
from the first days to the last.

We are your brothers
come to slay no more.

We are the dead of generations
who speak for peace,
tongues silver
with a bright cadence.

Hear our song,
for the world is turning now,
a new language begins.

Hear our song.


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