Heather A. Cummings

THE BATTLEFIELD CROSS

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry
Awarded: March 20, 2012
Shouldering honor, they walk through the dust,
with their dead eyes set and mourning the loss,
wondering once again what it was for,
unwilling feet drag to battlefield cross.

A single bell tolls for a moment’s rest,
a solemn voice rises to sing of praise,
silence reigns as the heart and breath stammer,
weary ears deafen to somber set phrase.

Thrice he calls out and thrice silence answers,
tears silently fall as training kicks in,
wishing that brutal silence found no voice,
four in, four hold, six out, begin again.

The memory of a brave man rests here,
sorrows of war etched deep into faces,
weapon in boots, tags hanging, helmet on,
solemn reminders, life’s fragile stasis.

Now mean and haggard, dark glassy eyes rise,
a battle begins of wars built on lies,
a skirmish of self, the shadows remain
to long wander minds as the human stain.