The Crossing – A Poem

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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