Gloria Benjamin

Gloria lives in Leeds, United Kingdom

FOR A FRIEND

We could not know
that he, our comrade, born where rain-winds blow
who scarcely knew
another sky than North-anaemic blue
would close his eyes
where neither trees nor meadow-flowers rise
and die alone
in this dead wilderness of sand and stone

We could not guess
how soon we would be one machine-gun less
nor had we planned
this ghastly claimant for a shroud of sand
The lethal sun
shines down on bones the sated vultures shun
Yet for a span
he lived, he loved, he fought and was a man.

For him, we fight
till Northern flowers star the desert night
and slash the hills
till every dune is slaked with running rills
So, while his dreams
are soft with music from his native streams
The palms shall keep
a tender watch, above his quiet sleep.