A Four Year Engagement

I am young
Terribly alone.
I know life
Death, despair, fear.
Fatuous superficiality cast
Over an abyss of sorrow.
The first bombardment
Showed my mistake.
Go courageously into every action.
A cacophony of noise:
Gunshots and artillery.
It is a wonder I do not slip
On bullet casings and bodies.
Know thyself, know thy enemy.
A thousand battles, a thousand victories.

Death is working from within.
Look at his bed covering:
He has lost his foot.
Under the skin, life no longer pulses.
Reach out to help the dying;
Lose your limbs, if not your life.
One misstep spells your doom
With words written in your blood.
I am riddled with bullets.
Salt water is the currency of pain.
Confront your enemy with annihilation,
And they will survive.
Tread carefully:
Minefields ahead.

Guns open fire.
I shiver and am glad to think
I shall be back home soon.
The tragedy of war is that it uses
Man’s best to do man’s worst.
Words are knives that often leave scars
And the scars of the mind are too often permanent.
My blood becomes a trail of breadcrumbs
I am their target
A fox chased by hounds.
Animal instinct is awakened
Far quicker, much more sure, less fallible
Than consciousness.
I restrain my fangs
And continue my hasty retreat.
Violence is the first refuge of the incompetent.

Were I in charge,
I would wash the feet of those beneath me
For I understand that to lead
Is to serve.
The general who advances without coveting fame
Is the jewel of the kingdom.
A good commander is benevolent.
Our commander has not appeared
So allies were made
But not trusted.
Use them and leave them,
Another casualty of this war.
I am not one of them;
I was not wanted anyways.
Hit me
Hurt me
Burn me
You will not break me.
I have pretended inferiority and
Encouraged your arrogance.
You think yourself the lion,
But you will realize,
Too late,
That you are the lamb
And I, your butcher.

No man is an island
But if we were not, we would be lost,
Drowned in each other’s tragedies.
I am so alone
And so without hope
That I can confront them without fear.
I am very quiet.
Can we ever truly create the illusion
That we are for a moment not alone?

Let the great world spin for ever
Down the ringing grooves of change,
And let me go.
Let me leave and nurture my wounds.
Victory is mine.
But what is the price I have paid?

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