Posts Tagged ‘Warfare’

Upon this rat-eaten bed I lay my bed,
A mud and barbed wire hovel,
After a long days bloodletting,
The trenches lay heavy with shrapnel and refuse,
Day and light hard to distinguish in the smog,
Bodies alive and not beside one another as brethren,

Rat-a-tat-a-tat,

I carry a small memorial,
The image on this grey photograph feels like an illusion,
A place from a distant fuction,
A home no longer real,
The face has grown indistinct,
The name Elizabeth means nothing to me,

Rat-a-tat-a-tat,

Aside from the distant thumps of artillery,
The only aid to sleep I have is a lullaby of machine-guns,
Repetitive ringing in my head,
Rhythmic melodies of death sent aloft,
In to foreign mens hearts,
A different form of sleep,

Rat-a-tat-a-tat,

I close my eyes,
The gunfire amalgamates with the stench,
A militaristic sedative,
Yet sleep conducts a tactical retreat,
The war goes on,
And the machine-gun continues to sing.

Amongst the mire and barbed wire,
There lies prone the battered regiment,
Under a rain of both water and shell,
A band of brothers,
Rats armed to the nines,
Fighting more for camaraderie than a flag,

Holding their own,
Holding the front with tooth and round,
Keeping the foes from the trench,
Opting for blades as the bullets run out,
Shouting out under a chorus of machine-gun song,
Weighted down by mud and corpses,

Even these warriors are not ironclad though,
Waves of bodies fall upon them hourly,
Each loss is a bayonet to the gut,
Where each bodybag is a sacred relic,
Sent home with a sombre reverence,
Back to a warm welcome and a cold hearth,

A brief homage and an eternal sleep,
And the war rages on.

On one fateful day,
On the straits of Denmark,
An iron knight was laid low,
Clad in atlantic fleet grey,
The Mighty Hood,
Pride of a kingdom,
Reduced to scuttled wreck,
Pierced by HE crows from enemy ordnance,
Sent afly by a chancellors namesake,
Explosions cry out,
And the valour of the Royal Navy is frayed,
Rended and sent below the waves,
To be a monument to a fallen chivalrous age,
Now in cold waters does she finally rest,

Ventis Secundis

I see him,
In cast-iron visage,
A harbinger of arms dealer joy,
Illuminated in the brimstone of industry,
Lighting up a cuban next to sea mines,
Counting rounds as if an attentive sire,
A self-appointed god of war,
Bestowing energetic gifts of abhorrent blitz,
To all of the unlucky boys and girls,

He visits foreign agoras,
Grinning with teeth of bullets,
He’s extant behind every shell-shocked orphans eyes,
As they grieve for yesterday’s barrage,
Slumped upon sun-scarred plains,
Torn and battered by winds of heavy calibre shells,
Despite this carnage his friends cheer him on,
There is profit to be made,
But first comes the war,

For the bliss of it all.

Many lands believe might makes right,
And bestow this belief on the foreign poor,
A show of force,
A frank display of arrogance,
Replacing ancient tenets with roads,
Inflicting new flags on old traditions,

With heretofore never seen weaponry,
Science turned to warfare,
Behemoths of timber and black powder,
Lines of steel and ruby uniform,
All lands become part of a gold rush,
Power used to justify itself,

Large swathes of the world under one creed,
But a creed benefitting very few,
Vampires in wigs of affluence cheer,
Raising goblets of exotic blood,
To chalk and sands stained in red,
Conquest being its own reward.

It has come to this,
This dramatic crescendo of the days violence,
Surrounded by snow and foes aplenty,
A hinterland field of carnage,
Only a sole pair of warriors are here,
Isolated from the regiment,
Husband and wife,

Back to back,
Iron support betwixt now as ever,
One nocking a bow of artemis,
The other brandishing a weary excalibur,
Black blood and sweat already a deluge down their cuirasses,
A legion of enemies already cut down,
This havoc was a lovers last dance,

They were a stalwart couple,
They stood together through betrayals,
Held each other through childbirth,
And a funeral too soon,
These conscript lovers would hold fast,
Even if the end came this day,
It will be as eloping in their spring years.

Atop his scarred mare,
Beside his beleaguered comrades,
Hussar and dragoon and cuirassier,
The lancer wipes muck from his uniform azure,
Harvest of a cold morning scrap,
Barely a mile taken,
A score of lives paid,

And the general sips his wine,

A reluctant warrior,
A soldier true and father twice,
Thrall to the kings coin,
Yet the battery fire recommences,
And the order to charge is given,
A L’attaque!
The flagging lancer blasts ahead,

And the general sips his wine,

Shrapnel and flesh collide all around his advance,
The lancer picks out his mark,
The grist for his lance,
Akin to a Romeo delivering his final romantic plea,
Direct to the foes heart,
Inspecting his handiwork he saw his victim to be no more than fourteen summers,
Somewhere a mother wails,

And the general sips yet more wine.

Amidst the battery fire and shrapnel,
Ripostes and mud and barbed wire,
Warfare is glorious,
A vehement symphony of iron and gore,
Triumphant charges and resounding firing lines,
Dark clouds braiding with sulphur,
Nations forms are in flux,

You are a soldier,
Thrust your bayonet into that opposing commoner,
To increase your masters demesne by inches,
For those men who sip wine in silken tents,
In elite safety,
For those whom paint borders,
Your blood and your opponents the currency for miles,

There is no grandeur to be found here,
For the common man it is naught but hell,
A charnel house,
And yet for your flag you enlist,
Fire your salvo into that poor mans flank,
Fight for your valour,
Your thanks shall be as dirt upon your casket,

A most ancient con job,
There is no glory in war.

In the new world,
Upon the fields of Lagillas,
A warrior of the Mapuche,
Once defeated,
By the spanish governors soldiers,
Felt shame like a sabre to the heart,

This man of rebellion was punished most severely,
Disrespected even further,
For his insurrection,
His hands were removed,
Out poured blood and fury in streams,
Sent home as a warning,

Returning to his people and chief,
He begged to be sent back to war,
Hands newly fastened with double blades,
Thirsty for Spaniard blood,
Becoming an instrument of revenge,
A warror transformed into a weapon,

To protect his native lands,
The governor would meet his new hands,
Or his teeth.

As I lay incapacitated,
Upon this grassy knoll,
My shoulder and lung run through,
By barb of crossbow bolt,
I spy my Lady-General,

A maiden of war,
This carnage is her dance,
Dashing from dance partner after dance partner,
Bestowing upon them crimson terminal flourishes,
Spewing ribbons and pyrotechnics to applause of screams,

This theatre,
Spanning over ruined meadows,
With fire and arrows overhead,
A charnel drama,
Host to my Ladys baneful ballet,

Chinks in mail,
Gaps in plate,
All find spots for her blades,
She leads the way,
Bringing the wardance to the enemy,

Morosely she kneels at my side,
“We are War”,
“But your dance is over”,
Wistfully pecking me farewell,
I fade into the abyss.