The darkness of yellow

Poem by: steven cooke


The First World War and the use of Mustard Gas.


Submitted: May 20, 2012

A A A | A A A


Submitted: May 20, 2012



Fumbling through a sheen of yellow

the land and sky merge as one.

and earthly song goes silent.

The stage is set for death to breed,

tendered by phantoms, catching the unwary

These purveyors of men’s souls


The rats were the first warning,

blind panic the second.

The sting on the eye brought the fear,

the search for the mask the doubt.

was it by my side or did it fall,

Into the mud or by my gun.

Focus, Focus.


Shaking hands, remember the clip,

the burn in the eyes, is it too late.

The feel of rubber sticking to my face,

breathe slowly searching for the cough

heart ready to explode, relief the smell of air.


Then silence replaced by the gurgle.

The gurgle of dying men walking blindly

grasping for air, but the air has gone.

Replaced by the yellow that kills

that yellow which delights in a slow kill,

that torments the sanity

of the view behind the mask.


To watch a man die in corrupted lungs,

to see his sweet words of life,

replaced by a froth that no one should see.

The mercy of god is elsewhere this day,

as the eyes blister, his body writhes

and the light is dowsed from his existence.


Yet still the burning pain remains gathering its strength,

rushing through the brain.

No lasting thoughts of home,

only pain, manufactured by Adam

the gurgle, the last words of a dying man


And I who have survived will witness this,

every day of my life,

and people will say “there goes a hero”

a soldier of the Great War.

And I will accept their drinks and cigarettes,

and for a moment I will forget

The yellow that killed my friends,

but the yellow will return


The yellow that will always follows me,

hoping for a helping hand,

a rope, a pill, or a shot,

the choice is yours.

As long as you make the roll call right


But the yellow can never take

the memories,

that my comrades gave to me.

For they are immortal

and my comrades will always watch over me,

as I will of them.


And the yellow now fades from memory.

The ghosts will walk no more

for the ranks are full

the last Tommy has passed away.

The trenches a depression in a field,

and the poppies are histories reminder

Of what has passed this way

© Copyright 2017 steven cooke. All rights reserved.

The darkness of yellow

Status: Finished

Genre: War and Military



Status: Finished

Genre: War and Military



The First World War and the use of Mustard Gas.
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