Poetry

A Shameful Death

By 6th June 2013December 9th, 2019No Comments

His hands are tied behind his back
A target on his heart
Because ‘They’ have decided
That he didn’t play his part

He’d heard the patriotic talk
And lied about his age
To go to be a soldier
On that celebrated stage

The talk of daring valiant deeds
Stirred his imagination
How could he know ‘They’ had no clue
About the conflagration

At sixteen years, the thought of war
Was dazzling and exciting
The old men of the village
Glamorised the thought of fighting

So off he went with head held high
And soon was in a trench
His head still filled with eagerness
To fight beside the French

‘They’ didn’t care about his age
One more for their machine
Too soon he aged beyond his years
By witnessing the scene

Of bodies broken, maimed and torn
Disfigured, ruined, wrecked.
This wasn’t what he’d pictured
What ‘They’d’ led him to expect

And then, one rainy morning,
Came a shocking nearby blast
The loudest thing he’d ever heard
(And it would be the last….)

With both his eardrums shattered
He wandered through the mud
Unfocused and distracted
By the sight and smell of blood

His best friend Archie found him
Took him back into the trench
Where he sat, impassive, mute
Among the rats, the lice, the stench

It didn’t take ‘Them’ long to judge
This coward, lacking heart
“Of no more military use”
A flawed, defective part

So now, he stands bewildered
In a far and distant land
‘This shameful death just cannot be
The one that God had planned’.

Terry Alexander

Author Terry Alexander

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