I hear the low rumble of force and fear,
the distance closing soon to be upon me,
reigning down to ravage the landscape,
wrenching the very life from all and sunder.
I steel myself in fading moments of calm,
connecting with my soul in brief stillness,
knowing this could be the last time
I may know myself, to feel my vulnerability,
to see and remember those I love so dear,
and those who dearly love and behold me.
I feel my heart fall at the starting post
as fear and force grip me in stark contrast,
I have little choice as the burgeoning moment
paces itself ever onward with reality stamping
in my face; vying for strength, for cowardice to
disperse and clear the path for the oncoming
wagon of battle, to free the world from this
tyrant and wash ourselves clean of war and woe.
Stale air creeps upon me, the familiar smell
of bodies gaping with wounds, of blood
spattered stains upon the earth, of tears
and sweat mingled with the raging war cry,
to see others silently yet fearfully steady themselves
before the terrifying spectacle that besets.
I know you as my enemy and must remain
in this mindset to stand me strong to do my duty,
but yet I want to shake your hand and know you
as we are the same in our order of the day,
without choice we are here to settle the score,
not between one another but for the bigger
wheel that turns with freedom as its epitaph.
We will not be defeated despite the loss of life,
even the threat of connecting with our final hours.
I shriek the battle call and find myself running
toward the firing line, caught up in the melee
of deathly combat that finds itself torn apart
amid the frenzy of body upon body,
that cannot allow boundaries their space,
the message and focus to slay the foe.
I strike out with physical force into flesh
that tears apart with ease of human vulnerability,
then feel a force within that flails me to the ground,
my mind and body hitting the dirt and filth,
face sinking, forced into the mixture of ****** mud.
I wonder, is this my final moment absorbed into darkness,
becoming unaware of the continued chapter around me,
knowing not if I will survive or be at deaths door.
My duty is done and those around wear the poppy
of remembrance, of courage and ultimate sacrifice,
allowing their freedom to be continued and realised,
and I wear the medal of honour but reap the scars,
to live another day that will never dawn the same,
passing those that do not know my wounds that persist.
Nonetheless I am lucky, given the chance to live my life,
to feel the embrace, skin upon skin of those I love.