I bury myself and pretend to be dead,

As I hear the footsteps pass overhead,

The mud I taste, a blur I see,

Alas, a body lands on top of me,

Instinct kicks in and the will to survive,

Knife in my hand, I must stay alive,

I plunge it in and he thrashes about,

Then he grows still as I pull it out,

But the yells continue, and louder they grow,

He'll give me away, why betray me so?

Silence, still, quiet, he must,

And into his mouth, the mud I do thrust,

But it's not enough, I stab him again,

When will this devilish war ever end?

All of sudden my palms grow sweaty,

This knife in my hand becomes so unsteady,

I grow feeble and crawl away,

Though my knife remains ready as I watch where he lay,

I look at my hands, painted with red,

And a sickening numbness sweeps through my head,

Morning dawns, as those murderous gurgles continue their cry,

I'd plug my ears, if not for the shells that always tear by,

He is dead, he is dead, I try to say,

But his painful movements deny my words in every way,

I find myself impulsively crawling to his side,

He looks at me and his eyes grow wide,

Their silent scream pierces my mind,

And arouses the goodness of my humankind,

I want to, have to help this man,

So I prop him up, best I can,

But oh, the terror that overwhelms those eyes,

"No, no" I comfort, for they paralyze,

Slowly, gently, his forehead I stroke,

Then upon his dry lips, I let some water soak,

I cut open his shirt, those eyes still stabbing at me,

And I cover up his threatening wounds of three,

Oh, how slowly these hours go by,

And how slowly it takes for this man to die,

Had I my gun, I'd have shot him by now,

But to stab him again, I cannot allow,

I guiltily hope for these mockingly gasps to hurry and cease,

Then at the hour of three, the Frenchman lay, at last in peace,

But then I realize, so painfully,

How this silence is worse, this silence that envelopes me,

I stare at the Frenchman, at my comrade,

And think that this war must be driving me mad,

His body looks healthy, except for the head,

The head with the face that is strange like the dead,

Then my thoughts turn, they turn to his wife,

This human being, he too had a life,

With memories, a job, a home, and a family,

Who he'd be writing to, if not for me,

I didn't want to kill you, just so you know,

It was but an abstraction, through which my blade did go,

And now I must beg of you to forgive me,

Alas, I realize it's always too late, until we finally see,

That it's this damnating war we impetuously fight,

And to be brothers veiled as enemies is just not right,

I will write to his wife and I pull out his pocketbook,

But upon his name, do I dare look?

If I put it back now, I might forget this all,

Yet I reluctantly dared…Gerard Duval,

Suddenly through my lips, promises began to seep,

To Gerard Duval, the printer, I made promises I will not keep,

Seconds, minutes, hours seem to forever last,

But by afternoon I am better, the madness has passed,

It no longer bothers me that he is dead and I'm alive,

And I make a promise, should I survive,

To fight against this killing of one another,

For you were my comrade, you were my brother.