The infected soldier holds his post
He knows the feel of the parapet
The stone made smooth by other arms
The sound and smell of field and marsh
The flow of river and of tide.
He knows as well the ache inside
The thigh or throat becoming numb
The singing lark he has not heard
The laces he cannot re-tie
But he will hold until he dies.
If in the enemy’s cunning lies
There once was strange and alien truth
If in the cause that smoothed the stone
A shattered body lay untold
He will not know until he dies.
This is one of a few poems I’ve written which feature a soldier who does not know what he’s fighting for. There’s also a suggestion of another figure that reappears in my poems, a guard or watcher who does his duty and waits while nothing happens, waiting for something that may happen.
Copyright Simon Banks 2012