The officer’s whistle opened the door,
the pain of mortar did greet the damned
and I did nap with death in no man’s land.
In cold of night the stretcher did wake
from peace to hell and burning pain.
These eyes will see the stars no more,
no comrades smile for me.
The darkness has won
for light has abandoned me
and my face is for others to see.
Am I alive? The pain agrees,
my hand can feel this fevered brow.
What will home think?
to only half a man
and will England still respect this man?
The sound of an angel, who talks with God,
a poor soul for sale,
could that be me?
And God condemns
that I am not worthy,
for others deserve better
than half of me.
And in my darkness
Opium’s womb enters my veins
the pain chased away by foetal claim,
while the music of war in shrapnel fragment
screams a tortured lament.
And youth will queue to die in vain
among the ranks of nightingales reign.
These deities who tend this holy fodder
grow distant with bloody rags.
My mind feels the heat of shrapnel’s breath,
the thought of box in foreign field
the feel of sun and breeze denied
and claustrophobia feeds my fear.
Lonely is the grave with no goodbye
and I do not want to die.
But god is my surgeon and he is beat,
the angel will deliver mercy
and death will get his degree.
For compassion was hers to give,
the touch of her hand
will wipe this brow.
The cold of the scissors will cut the tag
and I will join a corpse’s march
obeying the ghost of captains orders
uniting friend and foe in melting borders.
In death I will believe
and hope will leave this earth with me.
My reward is tempered by sword and cross
epitaph is poured over another loss.
And country prepares to count the cost
The drone of the letter
this paper of man
typed in halls by Vatican whores,
delivering their knock on mother’s door.
This pain of England’s son
will lie in empty bed,
silence will be hers to see.
A candle for me in winter’s light
but death will play in mother’s night.
Her tears will wash this wooden cross,
the house will cry for little boy lost
and the dog will sit with eye on door,
never to wag his tail no more.
© Copyright 2016 steven cooke. All rights reserved.