Thursday, 13 September 2012
He looks for beauty in this brutal game
Amongst the bitter dust of Helmand,
And finds it in the sun’s splendour;
Its amber rays caressing the mountain range
As army boots leave prints in the earth,
As barren as unanswered wishes.
He finds no flower to press against his face and smell
Memories of his wife’s perfume.
Waning daylight cling to rocks,
Holding back the invading night
Where silent terror lurks unseen.
And evil crouches, exhaling poison as it waits
Squabbling insects dance and torment,
Biting and sucking his pink-parched skin.
He thinks of England’s gentle rain
Dimpling puddles under pewter skies,
Dusk creeps onwards darkening his thoughts,
As the Reaper hides nearby,
Planning a repulsive requiem,
Whilst searching for the next soul
To steal from loved-ones across the sea,
The soldier wipes his furrowed brow
Wrinkled like the wind-blown dunes.
Eyes raised, he looks into the navy sky;
A shared constellation with home.
Past peripheral shadows of outcrops,
Like broken teeth in a rotting mouth.
Tears roll down the hardest face each silent night
In this foreign land, where each man dreams
Of going home.
By Angela Barton