Saturday, May 18, 2024

For Those Shot For Cowardice

April 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Poetry

Their voices echo down the years, demanding justice:

“It’s the noise, echoing, rebounding in the muddy trenches,

The shells continuous, shrieking, exploding in front and rear.”

“I just wandered off, not knowing who, or what I was”

“I’m not afraid to die, it’s living in this hell,

that causes the problem – I start to shake – my mind goes dead”.

Then the finger pointing General “No time for cowards,

Court Martial them. Stamp out this cancer”

Court Martial’s obligatory -verdicts guilty – punishment death.

Shell shock – trauma – just excuses for cowards.

Then the voices of the firing squads are also heard.

“The poor devil was legless, his brain already dead.

His bowels running out of control.He called for his Mam,

As we tied him to the chair he talked to her”

“What are they doing to me Mam?

I can’t see you Mam, they have covered my eyes.

Sorry Mam I have messed myself. Help me Mam”

The executioners once more, “What a way to die,

His blood mingling with the filth in his trousers,

God forgive me my part in his death”.

And still the voices of the dead cry out.

“I’m not a coward – no blindfold for me,

I will look death full in the face -I am not guilty.

Shot as a coward, no pension for my wife”

Once more the General points the way.

“Shooting is wasteful – take them back – patch them up,

Return them to the front, we are desperate for men.”

Then again the chorus of doomed voices is heard:

“They strapped me down, attached the wires,

My body convulsed as it took the shock”

“I couldn’t speak – not a word – or a croak,

So they gave me electric shocks – I screamed”.

” They gave me injections, I slept for ages”

“It must have helped, I’m better now I think”.

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