Colin F. Jones

~ God and War ~
A DYING SOLDIER

~1 ~

I read your words that do with all hope pray
for something better than you have today
that is your life, or that part nearest death,
when youth in absence tires upon old breath.
No man shall speak his myths above my grave
or my defenceless body with false words save
for I’ll not be as would his mind declare,
nor with his tarnished assumptions ever share.
I say it now, while yet all thoughts are mine;
tis after death I’ll know where I might dine
and not before, as some pretend to know
or in illusion would their own lie sow…
For none who live can, with dead soldiers, share
a single thought nor a single care.

~ 2 ~

I hasten though to comprehend what may
be in the minds of those who for me pray.
For it is their love which for I’d gladly die,
thus would with this refusal friends deny.
Ah! No matter what you and I believe,
those inner truths that by fair stealth receive
as loyal feelings from a special place
do yet impart the loveliness of grace.
For we must dream and perhaps believe,
though we make merry or in fact do grieve,
that there is a place of peace where we shall meet;
where soldiers can, their lost companions, greet.
Ah yes, it serves our veteran hearts to think
that when we die, from life we will not shrink.

~ 3 ~

Tis no soldier’s choice that he advance to die
for in his heart tis not what’s in his eye.
He can’t envisage himself a rotting corpse
nor from his indestructible body know divorce.
And having seen his brothers meet their end
he still cannot with death yet comprehend,
but retains the horror of how his brothers died,
screaming or in silence all life denied
and of their body parts he saw expire!
Where to or from did their fine spirits fly?
For all of what, they were had ceased amiss,
beyond the promise of a fleeting kiss;
beyond imagined form in shattered waste,
where from runs all our dignity in haste.

~ 4 ~

If what I found in war doth clothe me still
with what I learnt of life, that I did kill,
molesting me with its coarseness on my skin,
denying that any compassion lives within,
then I am perhaps not worthy of recall
when I am gone deservedly to fall.
For what I gave my brothers was my love,
becoming absent of the one above,
clothed in the torment of my own despair,
denying those who loved me of my care.
Now that I die the guilty come to me
saying prayers that will not set them free;
for I’ll not justify their failures or their quest
to claim some holy knowledge of my rest.

~ 5 ~

If I found God, He was in blood and gore,
in soldiers’ clothes beside me red and roar,
who wore a helmet on His noble head,
who lay there dying with decaying dead.
God I saw in the actions of fine men,
all who in fear would do the same again;
who gave their lives for love and brotherhood,
that none in absence could have understood.
They fold the flag and hand it to my wife
who knows my love and better knows my strife.
And while she weeps a warrior is laid to rest.
a spirit glowing deep in his noble chest.
… The bugler haunts the air with mournful tune
and in brave hearts a million roses bloom.