Oxygen fills my lungs
The stench of decaying bodies
My sleeping body struggles to stand
The majestic sun blinds my delicate eyes
I fall to the ground with a thud
A bullet rushes past my head
It buries itself in the trenches crumbling walls
I clench the cold metallic gun trigger and shoot
The explosion drives my bony body into the dense soil
I have killed the enemy
Knee deep in mud
I am being dragged down
I pull and tug in an attempt to free my legs
The bloody mud splashes my face with a squelch
I free myself
I am dirty but I am a true soldier
I am congratulated
My first kill is a success
My comrades slap my back in pride
I stand in pride holding my muddy gun
Pretending the trauma isn’t killing me inside
A shell screeches
All faces blanched white
The poisoned air burns my insides
I choke and everyone falls around me like flapping gasping fish
My eyes are heavy
I want to relieve the pain with death
I die in pride
I have died for my country
I have made everyone proud
Bailey Cormac 10 SL
Stagnant water strewn over the upturned land,
Burnt stumps; crimson hot,
Noxious stenches hinder man’s grasp
Explosions shattering thousands of nerves.
Yorkshire’s sunlight once awoke soldiers,
Replaced by the glowing light of flames,
Farmers who would prance over a drink,
Now stumble upon corpses, friends.
Glory awaits you,
Thundering shrieks for help,
Corrupted, rotting bodies,
Upon zigzagged lines of conflict,
This awaits them.
Soldiers, now a mangle of limbs
Wheeled around barbed wire,
Limbs blasted to specks,
Once belonged to man,
Last flicker of a heartbeat,
The man’s pupils a widening pool of black
Velvet droplets falling from his wounded head
Tremulous hands, body shaking,
Curled up like in barbed wire.
Grasping a photo of his wife
Waiting for death to come,
Taking his last breath,
Lying in the crimson streaked mud.
Men rushing, trudging in the mud to catch him
Before he goes to the forgotten land.
Men mowed down
By the clatter of the machine gun
Explosions going off, ringing,
Ringing like the sweet ring of the doorbell back home.
As he takes his final moments
He lies to go to sleep in the blood filled mud
Never to return again to this monstrous place,
They are not coming back
Rivulets of crimson blood meander through the battlefield
The gloomy abyss of fog skims across the soldiers’ heads.
As they trudge through the blood mottled mud
Coiling shells screech over the vulnerable men
Skimming each man by inches.
A body, half submerged in blood, lifeless pupils dilated, face dejected.
The aroma of his rotting body, the stench making each man’s eyes water
His frozen body, like the churned up ground around him, icy with winter.
A fellow companion.
The silver gleam of the whistle glints in the piercing morning sun
As its deafening screech rings across the battlefield.
As soldiers begin to jostle out of the mud flooded trenches,
Reluctantly trudging into a cacophony of noise,
Slowly rambling towards their fate.
The rattle of the machine gun breaks the eerie silence
Shearing down each man like cattle at the slaughter
Still, bloated bodies lie lifeless across the desolate field.
Bullets continue to spit out,
Skimming the corpses, young men
Who have drowned in the veined crimson mud.
Innocent young men, persuaded to fight
Venturing into the unknown.
Over the top they go,
Scrambling towards their inevitable fate,
Never to be seen again.
Lice and rats scamper through squelching mud,
Men’s hearts pounding, breaths short, pale, pasty skin.
Agonizing silence surrounds the trenches,
As wind caresses the hairs on petrified heads.
A booming whistle erupts from the horn,
The signal to go
Like ants, scuttling out of holes, they go,
Dreading their fates
As the stench of crimson dances through the air.
Charging cattle herded into the slaughter house
While machine guns spray their victims, slicing through bone,
With ear-splitting staccato,
As bullets dart through revealing crimson.
Down and down they go, breath fading,
Dilating pupils and squirming bodies
Ruby red merging into crimson lakes
As all men are
Seeing men demented
The sun peeps around gloomy clouds, mocking us
Immobile, rigid corpses with horror etched upon our faces
A soiled hand raised to reach forgotten light.
Kobby Gbolon-Teye 10GO
Thoughts Of Home
Sunny blue seaside,
Seagulls fighting over the dropped chips,
Smells of fish, chips and candyfloss,
Families gathering round,
The thump of carnivals, the lights of festivals and fun.
Then in the blink of an eye,
The sunny sea side turns to smoke filled crimson torn skies,
The smell of rotting corpses and sulphur choke the air,
The only family around is your fallen brothers on the frozen mud,
And the thump of festival fades to the thunder of bombs pelting the ground.
Screaming, the rattle of the ice cold rifles,
The splash of a body falling onto cold, hard battlefield,
The thud of the upturned helmet,
The jatter of the dropped rifle,
The last sigh that wind carries.
The struggle of a soldier,
Grasping a letter and a photo,
A photo of his family,
He can’t remember his home,
It’s all half known.
The anxious mother,
The letter in the post,
The drawing of the blinds.
Toby Rickard 10SL