The Crossing – A Poem

He silently sobbed as he huddled in the trench
With mud up to his knees and a God-awful stench
Of bodies and shit and rats and fear
And the moans of wounded and dying ringing in his ear
“Hey Cobber – have you got a smoke?
This bloody war is a bloody joke
What I wouldn’t give for a schooner with me mate
Or a cuddle with me sweetheart on a moonlit Summer’s date
He sat there in the damp and cold
He wasn’t now nearly as bold
As when he’d left home with a spring in his step
“I’ll be home in time for Christmas Pet”
They’d held their ground for days now, and well into the night
But he knew they were done-for ‘cause they’d just run out of fight
The faceless, nameless men in charge would send their orders down
To the waiting wasted future of a far-off country town
The promise of a life to come would be snatched away this night
The future of a young country too eager to join the fight
It was all a big adventure – “We’ll see the world we will”
And they’d joined up in their thousands, every Harry, Tom and Bill
The stench was over-powering and he trembled with cold and fear
His plight was truly hopeless, and he knew that death was near
With Bayonet at the ready and a heart fuelled with desperation
He climbed the bloodied, muddied trench to help protect a nation
That wasn’t his, that wasn’t home, but they couldn’t win the war alone
So he’d answered the call to rally the troops, to don the slouch, the rifle and boots
And here he was in this hell of a place, with fear in his guts and blood on his face
His mates all dead, wounded or mad “Oh God I didn’t know it could be this bad”
The rattle of guns and flashes of light – silhouettes dancing in the night
A battle cry ripped from his chest and his feet took flight as he did his best
And as he reached the top of the trench and sucked in his very last breath
He knew he’d come to The Crossing – The Crossing between Life and Death

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