A War Promise - Poem by Patrick O'Reilly
Goddamn them all!
I was told for just one summer
We'd go to Flanders
And we'd march back home
Instead I crawled on my belly,
Like a snake through the grass,
Ducking under chlorine gas at Ypres,
Pissing on handkerchiefs
And stepping on dead friends.
It was months in the trenches
Sniping rats and scratching lice,
Breathing in foul tornadoes of dust
When it was dry.
And then, finally,
When all was quiet on the front,
The shelling stopped
And the birds singing,
I had time to close my eyes
And feel my ghost leg itching.
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