Pinned against the back of war,
battle has strung my neck —
there are no words unsullied by
the sting of steel in flesh.
I cannot move my legs no more,
the groans have grown too tall —
for the mail I wear is linked with lead
and each bitter sin I haul.
smoke has settled
and the ground’s soaked up the red
night has tucked her blade
and left to break her bread
all the wanderers
have lined up foot to head
I have buried them
and laid them into bed
I am not my father’s son
though he may stir and grip his gun
I am not the army’s man
I left them long ‘fore I began
I am not a child of war
though hardened is my heart to gore
I am just the aftermath, you see.
words have crumbled
and there’s no one left to weep
time has torn apart
what we once swore to keep
all the wayfarers
have drifted fast asleep
I have wondered why
my song had not been reaped
War is not a game of sides.
You may don your colors proudly and
thump the sigil on your shield;
you may swear your oaths with your
steel at your feet, and kneel before your throne,
ready to break and bleed-
but war is not a clash of causes,
a battle of banners,
a trifle of titles.
War is a game of graves.
When the rage of swords has subsided,
and the crows circle the blackened sky,
your colors will be no more than scraps in the wind,
and your shield’s sigil splintered wood.
Your oaths will mean nothing when your lips are cold,
and your knees pricked with arrows.
In the end, war is a contest of casualties;
and we all look the same dead.
This free verse is a bit dark, I know, but I’m experimenting with getting into characters’ minds. This particular character is sort of on the pessimistic side (obviously).