In the God-Forsaken Trenches

March 11, 2008
In the god-forsaken trenches,
A pencil stub clutched in his fingers,
By the light of the dimming kerosene,
He wrote.

Dear Maman,
It has been less than a year…

In the god-forsaken trenches
Of France (Gerries only yards away)
He wrote.

I am well. And do not worry. Some days, I can only hope.
There is an end, Maman.

For Gerries he had no compassion.
It was their bullets which whistled past his head
Took his only friend down,
Left him trying (in vain attempts)
To remember his Maman, worried sick in Paris.

I see you in my mind every day. You and little Marie. Pappa, of course, too.
They say it will end soon, but all I can see are the weary faces of others like me.

In the god-forsaken trenches,
The mud stirred by grenades (horses would have sunk to their inevitable deaths),
It was dark. It was so dark.
It was hell. It was hell without hope of heaven.
And he loved his Maman.
But she was not there, simply snoring soldiers.

You’ll be unhappy to know I have all manners of dirt spattered across my face and arms.
My hands are chapped and red. But I am lucky, and yesterday, I saw the land stretched out before my eyes. It was flat and desolate, so sad. I wished to run across that land, just to make sure it was still earth, not hell. Even trees no longer grow in that iron soup.

In the god-forsaken trenches,
They fought a war of attrition.
The front never moved,
Only stood stock still,
Here in Ypres.
Zig-zagging as they raced to the sea.

But do not worry, Maman. I’ll come home.

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