The Battle-Field

Trampling over poppy fields,
Enduring the horrors of war
In the stench of the trenches –
Stale sweat and encrusted blood
With squelched excrement
Floating into the air
Already heavy with cordite.
Conscripts establishing peace with justice
In a glad new world
For one-time enemies to live as neighbours
In a shared humanity,
Serving and being served,
Mining and making, buying and selling,
Praying and playing on another field.
Wheat milled and spice ground,
Until baked bread aroma fills the house,
And there’s a knock at the door
(Not to announce a battle-field death)
So we invite them in for coffee
On no-man’s land
That’s every man’s land.

Remembrance Sunday,
11 November 2012 

Photo:  Captain Harry Andrews VC, a Salvation Army officer-doctor, who died in action in Waziristan, October, 1919.