Battlefield Diamonds

A fresh, new dawn is rising

Over the ebony battlefield.

I cherish and nurture the silence

A blanket stretching for miles on end,

Covering our sleeping soldiers.

I treasure the gentle light sunrise

Undisturbed by the green haze of gas,

Or the stray flying bullets,

Like a 24-carat gold necklace.

Yet every day,

So powerless to prevent it,

I watch this short rare haven

Submerge in deadly explosive shells,

An intense, heavy, choking film of gas,

Death's gunfire,

And the frantic cries of innocent young men.

As I watch the stars monitor the quiet night sky,

I recall the drastic injuries I witnessed earlier,

Burnt flesh, oozing pus, dripping blood-soaked wounds,

And the faces of the patients.

The faces of sorrow, pain, regret and fear,

Painted into them permanently.

One particular injury will always remain with me;

A young man's leg was like thin strips of meat,

Caused by a metal shell full of explosives,

A whizz-bang.

Showing no sentiment, I typed the letter by order,

The letter to Blighty, dear old Blighty.

The letter that will allure their families' heart.

Even though I don't see their reaction,

Deep down, as I gaze at the stars overlooking the warzone,

I know their hopes of their loved ones

Have been crushed and wrung out.

They are bewildered, weeping,

Desperate to know.

These men are expected to be

The very epitome of the perfect soldier.

Yet every time,

All the forced idealism and elation

Cracks and dissolves,

To reveal the ugly truth of war.