- Nun in white (nurse?) passing out white feathers outside conscription tent on a dock. Holds out one, which bumps into man's chest, as he is about to walk past. She yells about cowards, not revering his country etc. this is his reply. -

You would not address me so, madam

If you had seen what I have seen

Horrible things

Such things that they blind one to look on them.

This war - this country - asks more than one man should give.

To die for your country is all very well -

It may be quick, a sharp pain, then a blankness,

Or it may give him time to bid his distant wife, small children, and still intact comrades (but for how long) farewell,

Or he may be skewered on shrapnel, to rot alive, laying on a pallet in a muddy tent.

But - this is worse.

True - I have lived, but life encumbered - suffocated - senseless.

I can only see my last seeing moments,

To relive them inside my head.

So, little sister. I am returned. Your noble battle steed.

Retired to pasture.

You should be ashamed.

You would not pass out these white feathers.

If you had seen what they cost.

You put death and terror - bided by guilt into the hearts of men.

I now return this burden to you.

Dust to dust, ashes to ashes.

Misplaced guilt, to the shoulders which firstest distribute it.

And may you find as much peace with your burden

To remain as

Blind to pain

Deaf to terror

And tasteless in pastimes

As you were before you stopped me.

Blank eyes staring out seeing nothing. Missing nothing.