Friday 7 November 2008

The Legacy Of Victory

The Legacy Of Victory.

The past is never buried forever,
It lives on amidst the rotted earth,
Restless in its agonies,
Tortured upon the rocks of eternal return,
It can never rest in the peace of death,
For the fallen return to haunt the dawn,
Carried as corpses upon a tumbril,
In the hollows of our hearts,
And in the hollows of our arms.

Though time and country move on,
The spectres of the past remain,
For pain and loss linger to haunt us,
As shadows cling to the sun,
A legacy passed down the line of generations,
The inheritance of orphans and widows,
For death is never the end of suffering,
And those that fall rise again,
In our nightmares and in our lives,
They stagger on through eternity,
Forever enduring the slaughter.

The dead will drag their weary bones,
And their heavy mud clagged boots,
Through the reeking red mud ruts,
Of advance and retreat,
Forever treading from trench to trench,
Marching over the fresh gathered dead,
Who lay as leaves in Autumn,
Withered in the winter of war,
Until once more they are ensnared upon the wires,
To hang as shrike prey upon the thorns,
As Christ once hung upon his cross.

The flesh when abandoned to the enemy,
Becomes the home of rats and maggots,
But the spirit is free to haunt the living,
For the horror endures on new fronts,
Transcends the salient, escapes its tomb,
And in a myriad new forms,
Finds its purchase upon the day,
For orphans become fathers,
And in their turn abandon their children,
As the dead abandoned them,
And the cycle of suffering begins anew.

Suffering only begets more suffering,
For in the absence of love only hate grows,
As weeds choke a forgotten grave,
In the dark corner of a cemetery,
When no-one attends to its memory,
The cross of stone alone remains,
As a symbol of the sacrifice,
That fades as a photograph of a volunteer,
Whose bones will never feel the embrace,
Of the sacred soil of our holy Isle.

Poverty is the price of all sacrifice,
Paid by widows in city slums,
Where every child is an act of remembrance,
Of fathers who shall never return home,
For the veteran is left to rot upon the street,
Drunk on his stumps he stammers,
Forced to live upon a paupers pension,
Whilst the generals who never fought,
Far from the drear front in comfort,
Cooing like fat pigeons in a coop,
Devising stratagems to gain the highest scores,
Are given medals for their crimes,
And seats in Parliament to start the next war.

The tick and tock of machines continues on,
As an unexploded shell in the dank earth,
Of a field once drowned in blood and iron,
Where the plough now passes anew,
Waits its chance to claim a prize of fresh blood,
For this is the curse bequeathed to the future,
The patient seeds of death and war await,
Rusting amidst the bones and bullets,
Whispering in the sodden fields of sorrows,
The serpent of sudden death who strikes,
Swift as a lightning flash from the sky,
Ushering in new victims into its crater,
The legacy of victory that is the death of innocence,
And the slow suicide of all reason.

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