Into No Man's Land

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
For a project on World War One, I chose to write a poem about what life was like in the trenches. It is a little morbid...

Submitted: April 07, 2012

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Submitted: April 07, 2012



Bang!” The sounds of gunshots echo in my ears

“Boom!” the bombs exploding feel so near

The stink of burned gunpowder tickles my nose

As the fight intensifies and grows

I shall not make it out alive I fear,

Nevertheless, I will continue fighting

I fumble with my gun as a rat at my foot begins biting

I kick at it, sending it skittering away

I poke my head over the top of the trench,

Then jump down as a fresh volley of bullets scream past my ear

“Sploof, hiss” Suddenly, the trench is filled with an interesting stench

“Covers!” somebody yells, as I slip mine on, it has a rip I fear

I throw it down, then stoop over one of my comrades’ dead body

I cringe, telling myself he doesn’t need it anymore,

It’s not benefitting him, he’s too far gone

I try not to think about it as I take his mask and jam it on

“Wheeeeee, bam!” is all I can hear as heavy mortar rips down the line

It strikes too close for comfort, spraying up dirt,

Which rains down, pelting my unprotected hands

There’s an eerie quiet, and I wonder if my sector is gone

I slowly open my eyes to see a blanket of green

Leaving everything unseen

I stand uneasily and finally the gas dissipates

I throw off my mask, just in time

To hear two shrills of a whistle

“Charge ‘em!” someone shouts

everyone is going,

Going over the top

And before the next missile can drop,

I scramble up the ladder and stumble

Into the pitted and scarred landscape

“Darn, my shirt’s going to get dirty” I grumble

I throw myself to the ground and

start crawling towards the enemy line

as the sun pierces the ominous clouds and starts to shine

Why should I rush into death’s arms like the others?

My friend stands up straight, all six feet of him,

Turns to face me and gives me a thumbs up

He turns back towards the enemy’s trench,

“Pok” he shudders, faces me,

His smile turning to confusion,

As blood starts gushing out of his forehead

He gurgles, then slips to the ground,

Blood still spilling out of his mouth and nose

I glance upwards, looking towards the malignant crows

I return to my task of slowly creeping eastward

As I reach the tangles of barbed wire,

I hear the telltale ‘Rat-a-tat-tat-tat’ of a machine gun

I slip through, and am on the German side of No-Man’s Land

I see a few heads popping out of the trench ahead,

Peering across the desolate landscape for signs of activity

Like a vulture scavenging for its prey

I fumble with my rifle, and then go through the jog-trot act

Of carefully taking aim, then pulling the trigger

At the same time making my presence known,

Allowing my cover to be blown

I lunge into the nearest hole left behind by a shell

A jackrabbit dashing to the safety of its den

I rip a grenade off my belt, and chuck it as far as I can

I curse myself, realizing in my nervousness

That I forgot to pull the pin

I grab the last one, planting a kiss on its knobby surface

Just for good luck

Then I make sure to pull the pin,

And lob it over my head and into the trench

I scramble out of the hole,

Then start running, praying that the grenade will explode

Before some stray bullet can find its mark

Its better than I could hope for,

As both grenades detonate simultaneously

I hurriedly inch towards the awaiting lip

I slap my bayonet onto the scorching hot muzzle of my rifle,

Burning myself in the process

Then continue scurrying towards the pits of despair

I peer inside, then splash down inside

A scent tickles my nostrils, the smell of death

I whip the hunting knife from my boot

Ready for rapidly rushing resistance retaliating

I eye a soldier silently crawling towards me

His legs blown off

He starts moaning as he makes his way towards me
I raise the butt of my rifle into the air,

Then heave it downwards with all the strength I can put behind it

Blood sprays and spatters across my muddy uniform

I continue my frenzied barrage

Even after the last gasp of life escapes from his tattered lungs

I finally throw my gun down, and then grab a rag from inside my helmet

And proceed to wipe the blood and gore from my face,

Then wipe the bayonet clean from his intestines

I grimace, knowing my uniform has already started to stain

I hear cheers farther down the line

As my squadron secures the trench

I have a twinge of remorse,

Knowing that these POWs will be unmercily shot to death

An unhonorable act

Even if they surrender

I start feeling dizzy, so I sit down, nervously glancing around,

And wait for my comrades to return

The soldiers want freedom,

more than anyone

They however, are willing to fight for it

Until they find out just how horrific war truly is

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