No Man's Land

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the Great War/ ode to the fallen

He stands on extraordinary land, fertile ground, a sea of green

Cotton wool clouds drifting dreamily in the sapphire sky

The sun beating down, heat waves rippling across the earth's surface

A mild breeze carrying wholesome scents of open country

Insects fluttering, steady murmur, birds singing without  a care in the world

So much beauty, so much peace, a setting to pacify a burdened soul

For a moment, he thinks he has made a calamitous mistake

His aged mind caught in a maelstrom of confusion and misconception

But sharpness persists; he knows his whereabouts, positive and exact  

He feels it in his heart; the steady rhythm of his unflinching past

Yes, he agrees, this is most definitely the place

As if, he could ever forget

He walks with a heavy limp, right leg trailing marginally

Agedness hinders him, but he has suffered worse

Sheer determination aids him, his dogged confederate 

A little discomfort is nothing ... nothing at all

He stops, allowing the tranquility to settle his nerves

It beggars belief, he thinks; beyond comprehension

This place, this quiescent piece of land, marinated in solitude

Once the hub of human madness

The heart of the apocalypse, evil supreme

A tragedy of incalculable proportions

The horrors of the Great War

He looks to the sky

And says a little prayer

An ode to the  dead

His friends, his fellow soldiers, his dear companions

Confined to the chapters of bloody history

The war, long gone, continues inside his head

Recreating every moment, every sound, every smell

An immutable state of purgatory, unwavering torment

How he has suffered, his sentence carried in silence

Never uttering a word about his experiences

Even his tears are hidden from view

His internal scars, deep and painful, embedded in his soul

Time failing to erase the spectre of human lunacy

Returning to this place was a difficult decision

But he owes them, his fallen brethren

Those who never made it back home

Sacrificial lambs

Rising from the trenches

Eyes bulging with fear

Death assured

No man's land

Those poor young men ...

Lives cut short

He wipes a tear from his eye

And carries on with his pilgrimage

Arthritis assaulting his hips and knees

But he is a determined old soul

Purpose keeps him going

He will never yield 

This place ... this special place

He is surrounded by serenity and beauty

Stillness and nature

Sunshine and  charm

And armies of invisible ghosts

 

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