Gert Strydom

Gold Star - 27,010 Points (03 April 1964 / Johannesburg, South Africa)

Under Sights - Poem by Gert Strydom

A terrorist was on top of
the tall white water tower
of the military camp
poisoning the drinking water,
or so we thought.

I was on guard as a roaming picket
and the radio cracked
and told me
to get the enemy
on top of the water tower
under sights.

Just more than a section
of other troops on guard
gathered with me
and we spread out
and circled the tower
and hit cover where we could.

For a moment the dark figure
look ominous where he stood
next to the steel ladder
in the darkness of that moonless night.

We were ready to shoot
and were instructed to wait,
just before a spotlight
almost made him jump
over the edge.

There was no terrorist
that looked down at us,
just a military cook
trying to take his own life.

One troop said
“lets help him
and get it over with”
and I could almost
feel him pull the trigger
but like steel my voice said
“stand down”
and a military psychiatrist
got him calm
while troops climbed the tower
and lowered him on a rope
and I wonder to this day
what left that soldier
totally out of hope?

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, February 2, 2010

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