Topic: The Patrol

Hi all
I wrote this bit of prose a while back now after seeing a photo of an army patrol in the first world war.
My Grandfather served a conscript one of thousands thrown into the meat grinder that was the trenches of the 1st world war and only by fate did he survive.
One day I’m going to set it to music.
As always thanks for reading…

The Patrol
The Sergeant’s hand is raised…
Down we drop crouched rifle gripped firm and strained as sweat drips lazily off worried brows.
Night noises invade my ears rich and malevolent echoing through the cloying tainted night air.
Fear encases and envelopes me, stretching then compressing leaving stark open wounds of my feeble courage.
I’m transfixed rooted listening with heartbeat deafened ears for sounds from an invisible enemy.
The moist wet air heavy with  an acrid panic gives nothing away to me save the laboured breathing of my exhausted companions.
Seconds drag slowly by time controlled by situation they become an alien insidiousness to me laced with latent menace.
As I crouch shaking and sweating my mind wanders and then fly’s for the briefest moment I’m home.
My wife stands there forever framed in my thoughts her smile her tears her slightest gesture impressed on my memory.
Then as always fear chokes my throat and in silence the silence I’ve learnt for all unbearable emotion bares down on my soul.
Then I’m back staring at the helmet of the figure in front of me drained and insipid pinned seemingly to the mud slick ground.
I become aware of all my brothers fellow suffers all crouched I look at them as if distant strangers yet familiar to me as my family.
Their eyes stark betraying their fears their slight body movements giving them away as nervous caricatures of fighting men.
We all fear showing fear and we all show that fear each in our different ways. It slips sometimes overtly sometimes clandestinely from our bodies eroding our will destroying our reason stripping us bare.
Then the moment passes seconds that seemed like hours melt away we continue to exist.
The Sergeants hand is raised we slowly rise it begins again…..

Re: The Patrol

if i was allowed to swear, i'd say how "flipping" brilliant this bit of "prose" as you call it, is.

this has to be the most moving poem i've ever read, as you know i wrote a lot about the "wars" and soldiers, earlier this year, but you've captured in this one piece what i strived [futilely] to say.
your writing is so descriptive, i felt i was there, staring at the helmet in front of me, smelling the fear that we exude involuntarily.
rarely can i say that i pictured in my mind the written word. it could easily have been one of cornwell's best works.

congratulations and thanks for sharing.


Ask not what Chordie can do for you, but what you can do for Chordie.

Re: The Patrol

Great stuff, Ark ! Very evocative.

Did you ever read Wilfred Owen ? He was killed a couple of days before the armistice after returning to the Front from being treated for shell shock.

"Like beggars under sacks, we limped on, bloodshod"  or

"Gas, gas! Quick Boys ! An ecstasy of fumbling."

"Don't play what's there, play what's not there." Miles Davis

Re: The Patrol

Wow Phill thanks for that very encouraging comment.
Coming from yourself I appreciate it a lot.
Your songs etc on War and soldiers are always good and certainly painted a vivid picture of that era to me..

Thanks Strans.
Yes I have read Wilfred Owen also Siegfied Sassoon who greatly influenced him and his writing..
I am always moved by Rupert brooks poem "The Soldier" The words relate to England and the English but the sentiments could apply to any Soldier lost and buried in a foreign country...