Still lying here, nailed by debris and spoiled by shrapnel

My spent eyes caught a raging and a roaring in the heavens

Of flying beasts clashing, of winged creatures bickering

Of dangers and of dying, of deeds by urgent boys

In the face of terror, of deadly menace from other shores.

And still the clash of golden spears amid the chants of angels

And shallow, hollow hopes of those at home who led us here

Like insects to be wasted on the mighty guns of other fools

Sharing the flaming sunset across the mighty sky with creatures

Unknown to me, yet fearsome in their glorious robes and armour.

Also, the heavens awash with a furious singing ringing through me

With a bellowing and a snarling and a looted land wailing

Across bleak wrecks where fields and streams and woods had been

Horizons smouldered amid the blare of clanging song and strife

I seem the only man alive to tell of gods and other gods bestriding.

But now my soul too, unpinioned and freed from the unbodied filth

Seeming floating, joining the other boys, chorusing, remembering.

Sweet Jesus, let me hear my sergeant’s joke

Then find and save me Lord, before I croak.

No vile torment in this World of tears

Has bit so deep and willed such fears.

As I lay in the bloodied place

In the blood-soaked pool

In the darkened wood

Where the pain was cruel

There a single figure stood

Thorn-torn with bloodied face. 

And I counted with my counting hand

The souls coming stumbling by

All were formed as shaking men

Maddened faces gaped at the sky

And the darkened figure again and again

Wept for the shattered land.

Thinking that I should not yet go

My counting hand kept counting

For the souls fled on, leaping and flying

The numbers mounting and mounting

Into millions lost, it’s pointless denying

Too much pain for one man to know.