The horrors of WWI in the shell holes and trenches comes home with an injured soldier
|In the morning came the order to advance.
It should have felt good to crawl out of that hole,
even if only for the time it took,
to crawl into another pit of mud and lice.
Some German gunner took it upon himself,
to try to keep our entire regiment in place
picking us off as we ducked from hole to hole
until it was just me and Jim, and
the corpse-to-be of Private Smith whose
involuntary gasping was all that was keeping him
here in this rain-soaked pit of mud and rats.
We stayed until old Smithy was released
from his pain into glory.
Then Jim and I moved out
splitting our chances in opposite directions,
maybe one of us would get to the next hole alive.
I thought Jim did, until the bullets hit
thudding into the dirt like muffled footsteps,
whistling past my ears like a train
warning that it would not stop.
I crawled and rolled and prayed
around those who would never advance,
never grow old with grandchildren on a knee,
and the gunner for the dirt that
clogged my nostrils, sprayed up into my face
as the bullets struck the ground
all around me.
Until I caught one in the shoulder,
falling into a muddy pit of lice and frogs
bleeding deep into my dreams
of home again.
Found, bound up and healed
I was sent home to live in peace,
but still, in my dreams,
there lies a pit of mud and death.
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