The trenches, define who I am. I constantly move, like a rat on barren ground. I am a soldier; like everyone else I must find a way to survive. Trenches ridden with shells and pale corpses, eaten by scheming rats and ravenously hungry flies. They too, must eat the dead. Shells fly through the air and hit the ground, earth shattering. Find a way to avoid it. Constantly digging my body is weak. I am an old man, not a 19 year old boy. Anything human does not penetrate these dirt walls. I have found a line between hell and the rest of the world. They know nothing of the trenches. Nothing but government lies. Peace does not find me here. I cannot escape. Guns, bombs and planes fill the sky. Clouds are nonexistent; the sky is gray and desolate, covered with ash. My friends lay around me unmoving. I fire my gun, but at what? I do not know the enemy at all, but it is their goal, I have found, to kill me and those around me that are not of their kind. For years I have run in and out of the trenches. Barbed wire fences surround us, gone before you even know they are there. Colorless soil is what I stand on; it is gray, like the sky. Even the trees are gray, their branches laden with ash. Occasionally there are bodies in the trees. They penetrate the gray world, quickly disposed of, usually by a beast that is just as hungry. That is the last you will ever see of them. The new recruits, those poor young boys, are scared. When they see their first shell, they stand in awe of it, something so large and monstrous flying at them with breakneck speed. One cannot be taught how to survive in the trenches, one must learn for himself if he is ever to survive living in hell. Every day I find myself within the barren dirt walls of the trenches wondering when it will be quiet no more massacres, just enormous holes in the soil where nothing grows. For now, all I hear are the sounds of war, the sounds of the shells and bombs destroying the earth, and the screams of the dead, which pierce my ears. The dying horses are the worst. Animals do not sound like men. They are much louder and do not understand war. Their screams are those that screech, piercing the gray air. They too sometimes fill the trenches. Men and Beasts lying together after death. Cruel as it may seem, there is nowhere to bury them, so in the deep hallow trenches they go. I wonder when the horror will end.
April 16, 2012