kellen davis

From The Trenches With Love - Poem by kellen davis

Hunkered down in crimson mud, ensconced under a sandbag-lined parapet,
I descried an advancing regiment traversing towards the No Man's Land respite.
After my espial, the air raid sirens wailed and the young doughboys panicked,
A barrage of shellfire and brimstone fell upon us as if the hand of God afflicted.

The bloodcurdling cries jarring from my critically wounded brothers in arms
were completely drowned out by the bell sounded by the death knells alarm.
As the Reichswehr assailed upon us like pawns in a vociferous swarm,
my blood-dappled knuckles grew white as I shouldered my rifle ready for war.

A mustard miasma flooded through the overwrought furrow with haste,
so I ran blinded with tear-flooded eyes from the vesicant gas trying to escape.
I ran through a hail of explosions and gunfire as death's yellow breath chased,
and when I finally saw blue skies, I knelt to my knees and praised God's grace.

Like an army of soulless ants, they blitzed and bayonetted every man through.
General Sherman once said, 'War is Hell, ' and now I know he spoke the truth.
Cowering in fear, I yelled my 'Over The Top' to my brothers and aimed to shoot;
When the bangs and pows turned to clicks, I sprinted past the playing bugles toot.

I laid beside my lost brothers that lay strewn down the entrenchment,
playing opossum to stay hidden, praying I never hear 'Untermenschen! '
Those damn Jerry's trampled over me, stabbing anything that flinched,
two of my fallen soldiers were the only reason I wasn't gutted and minced.

As the trench raid was quelled by a bombardment of second-line artillery,
I sprinted to a dugout and armed a Browning m1918 for enfilade auxiliary;
armed and ready to mow down any Krauts who entered my bunker of misery,
anyone wearing a Pickelhelm will see my collapsible spade cut, dig, and bury.

The aroma of gun smoke has faded, replaced by the smell of freshly cut hay;
through the mangled barbed coils, I saw a pea-green smoke coming our way.
Backed against wire mesh wrapped around the ruble slammed by the aerial melee,
I desperately pulled off a gas mask from a corpse to survive the chemical foray.

When the bombardment subsided and the pandemonium tempered down,
I looked around over both shoulders and mangled corpses were all I found.
Crawling in the mud, pulling two maimed legs, a Fritz floundered around,
pleading 'Bitte tun Sie mir nichts! , ' until I stomped his lurid face into the ground.

After setting mines along the tunnel way all down to the cement fortification,
I aimed the 155mm turret into death's landscape and fired without hesitation.
Bullet casings rained down from the gun as I maniacally shot without discretion,
once all the bullets were spent, only tides of smoke waved in Deaths Ocean.

The eerie calm lasted only for a few minutes until the next bombardment came;
I scurried through the slit trench searching through bodies for a gun to aim.
When I looked between the trenches, I saw a battalion charging over the slain.
I squeezed the trigger as hard as I could, spraying into the smoldering terrain.

I stood alone in the battered bunker, wading through a sea of eviscerated men;
resigned to my fate, I waited to join my fallen brothers and lost beloved kin.
Gently, I folded a letter that I wrote for you, my love, and tucked it close against my skin,
even though I'll soon be gone, we will be forever be together, until the very end.

My darling and loving wife Martha:

It is Valentines Day and my thoughts are with you and the girls as always.
I wish that I could be with you on this special day of love
instead of being here in this godforsaken hellhole that Belgium has become.

I miss you and little Annabelle and Mary so very much,
and I pray for the day that this war comes to an end,

please pass my love on to the children and kiss them for me.
We arrived at the front line just over a week ago
and the smell was so bad that many of the men were sick,
to describe the smell would be an impossible task
but some of the causes will give you an idea of just how bad it is.

Raw sewage from the open cess pit, body odor from men who haven't had a decent wash for weeks,
dead bodies rotting in shallow graves and laying out in the open in no mans land,
the smell of exploded bombs and the odor of Mustard gas which lingers for a few days after the attack,
stagnant mud cigarette smoke and cooking smells all add to the unpleasantness of the trenches.

They say that we will get used to the smell over time,
but it feels like it will never leave us at the moment.

The smell attracts rats they are everywhere you look and they seem to be unafraid to show themselves,
there is so much waste here that the rats are thriving and some of them are as big as Felix our cat.

I shaved my head and my pubic hair yesterday
because my hair was crawling with lice most of the men
have been scratching and itching almost since the day we got here.

The rain is a constant companion flooding the trenches and turning the floor into mud.
It is so bad that some of the men are getting sores on their feet and can hardly walk with the pain.
Sleep is so hard to come by with the constant booming and banging of the shells from both sides,
my bed is a bunk which has been placed in a dug out section of the trench,
a mud roof a mud floor and the constant threat of a stray shell keep me awake at night.

I am scared, my darling Martha, my life is under constant threat, bullets randomly fired at us,
shells exploding every minute of the day, men are dying all around me
if not from a stray bullet or shell they are falling with fever and disease.

Four of the boys in my squad have died already. They went through basic training with me
and I considered them good friends. My best friend John shot himself in the foot just to get out of here
and away from the trenches; he will be treated in a field hospital and sent home.

We are going over the top tonight climbing out of the trench and attacking the enemy trenches.

A and B squad went last night and most of them were killed or wounded
before they even got 10 yards out of the trench, it is barbaric and a futile waste of human life,
but the powers that be seem to think that it is the way forward
and keep sending those poor men and boys to their deaths.

I will close now and pray that this is not the last letter that I will ever send to you my darling,
I long to be back at home with you and the children.

I love you with all of my heart
Happy Valentines Day my love

Your ever-loving Husband,


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Poem Edited: Tuesday, August 28, 2012

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