Monday, April 25, 2016

And the band played on

It started as a story but became a 'poem'.  As today is ANZAC day, I thought I'd post it here.  It is not a story of daring bravado - but rather a sad indictment of a world that still thinks violence is a solution.  And it is testimony to the fact that, while I disagree with war, I can only admire and thank those who risked or gave their lives for others.

The God that looked upon us with love just laughed,
The blood that coursed now ebbed,
Noises that first were fearful, now were unformed,
Everything now was unformed.

The flag had fluttered in the breeze,
As the band played its serenade to bravery and duty,
While the fools marched back and forth,
basking in their youth.

The girls had clapped and cheered,
and we’d marched past with stony disinterested faces
that secretly burned with delight,
in the glow of their worship.

Corners of eyes picked out pieces of our own hearts
girlfriends, wives, mothers,
And the band played out the glory to the beat of our hearts
as we marched.

But the jungles were hot and wet
and the leaches fat and bold.
We’d held our guns above our heads and waded and swam
through swamps and streams.

Our hearts still beat the rhythm
of 'duty' and 'freedom',
as we hid and fought and cried and died.
And the band still played on in our hearts.

The night was split with bullet and scream,
the lightening of gun and flame tore apart the night and day
And hate and fear marked the beat of despair
but still the band played on.

And I saw his eyes
and he saw mine
and for a moment
we were brothers.

In an instant we played and laughed and grew from children into men,
Until the stench of blood and guts and half digested meat dragged us back,
to Now,
and I knew that we were enemies again and he had become man before I.

The God that looked upon us with love just laughed.
The blood that coursed now ebbed.
Noises that first were fearful, now were unformed.
Everything now was unformed.

And the band played on.

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