Anthony W. Pahl


The call from a thousand yards ago is fresh upon our minds
for the memories of the sounds of war hold the very beat of time
and the marching songs of hosts above start sounding in our ears
so even though our life is short we try to show no fear.
For fear is twofold, maybe more – no one knows for sure –
the fear of letting down our mates and the fear of Satan’s roar.
Because the time that fear is strongest is not when fear is for our lives;
It’s the fear of not doing our job well enough to ensure our mate survives.
And even if we’ve done OK and reality says we didn’t fail,
when our buddy falls and gasps his last beside the jungle trail
we blindly blame ourselves and scream for not doing all we should.
To step in front of him in time – much better if we could!
The time for pain is short lived then – we see it all the time;
it becomes the norm for all who see, and death becomes sublime.
For death, despite its awful face, takes away all of our hurt
and we all truly died inside, just that we’re above the dirt.
Our senses numb for many years; our living just a sham;
to ever let the memories go proves that we’re a lesser man.
For we have walked upon the mud of blood with brothers, hand in hand
and we have experienced life and death – and life is bloody grand!