To The Last Man

By 8th April 2009December 9th, 2019No Comments

A jagged spear of lightning splits the pre dawn sky.
as half a hundred Englishmen prepare themselves to die,
the instant flash of natures light revealed a fearsome sight,
of a thousand native warriors that had gathered for the fight.

An early morning “stand to” was passed from lip to lip,
as every man among them checked his ammo, clip by clip.
The morning sun broke slowly and lit the ragged plain,
where throughout the night, the long, long night, the company had lain.

Alert now, facing outward prepared for the attack to start,
when a gust of wind streamed the Colours, giving each man new heart,
for a thousand spears were beating upon a thousand shields,
as slowly the warriors began to advance, upon the killing fields.

The clear notes of the bugle brought rifles to the aim,
and volley follows volley as untold lives they claim.
The morning mists lift slowly with heat of the rising sun,
as gaps appear among their ranks, as mothers lose their sons.

The warriors press forward in a frenzied blood lust,
as with the hard pressed soldiers, they come within spear thrust.
Battling for their lives, the gallant khaki band,
throw a cordon about their Colours, fighting hand to hand.

The outcome of the skirmish no longer was in doubt,
as the warriors pushed forward with a mighty shout,
the last man to stand before he was to die,
stood beside the Standard, looked the chieftain in the eye.

The warriors arm swept up and stilled the milling throng,
as he recognized their valour, he paid homage to the strong,
and taking up the Colours he gave them to the man,
and an escort to the river, that past the garrison ran.

The startled garrison sentry called out the quarter guard,
as the bloodstained, weary soldier, staggered the final yard,
and as evening shadows lengthened with the onset of the night,
a final salute the warriors gave, to the survivor of the fight.

Len Payne

Author Len Payne

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