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I have killed with the blade, with the halberd and pike;
with the flintlock, with pistol and spear.
I have marched with my enemy’s head held aloft,
I’ve crawled and lain screaming in fear
on battlefields bloody and flooded with waste,
where humanity’s bounds were rejected;
I have prayed to a God who could not give a damn,
I’ve shown mercy where none was expected.
I have fought in the desert, in jungles and swamps;
I have died in the mountains and plains.
The veldt and the forest surrender my bones,
and the farmers unearth my remains.
Under cannonade, bombard, mortar and strafe,
All prayers I have sung and repeated;
I have fought against madness as surely as shell,
I’ve advanced as good reason retreated.
I am digger and skirmisher, tommy and grunt,
I am rifleman, dogface and pawn;
I’m the first to go forward, the last to withdraw,
I’m the one for whom all mothers mourn.
I’ve learned some sad truths as I marched through time
to the trumpet and snare drum’s rattle,
but only one truth need be carved in our hearts;
All soldiers die on the first day of battle.
Poem by iamacamera, Writers Dock