Never Again

  • Nov. 14, 2013 9:00 a.m.

A World War One Epic by Reina Fennell?, Port ClementsAll is black but I can hear,The squelching mud under many feet.A torch is lit, my Captain stands near,”Up and over boys, quick and neat!”For a frozen moment all is still,Then the whistling. Earth showers down.We’re slammed back by a blast aimed to kill.Pounding ears, then my Captains voice “now boys now!”Then there I am and in the very last,Place any man should ever go;A burnt wasteland, twisted and smashed,Full of craters that’ll swallow a chap whole.I’m now crouching with my regiment beside,The mud rut where we’ve been dwelling.Utterly repulsive, but when inside,You’re relatively safe from the shelling.A hand on my shoulder does make my body tense,But Dom’s voice expels my fear.”Be careful mate, of all that barbed fence,God bless ye, I see ye back here.”Then all are moving and I am running.The peppering of gunfire.Comrades fall but I must keep running.My rifle kicks, did I pull the trigger?Run on, run on, keep breathing, keep running.Then all is confusion, I’m surrounded by fire.No longer running, not even standing.I’m in a hole, sinking into the mire.First numbness, then pain, then agony begins demanding.Then there’s a soldier looking down at me,Thank heaven, I know who it is!”Oh Dom, please help!” I manage a plea,But then I’m shocked for the face isn’t his.”Billy-boy, give me a hand!” I cry,For now it’s his likeness I see in that face.But no, not Billy, but again I’ll try,”That you Johnny? Get me out of this place!”But this person’s not Johnny, Billy, or Dom.It’s a German; gun trained on my heart.I don’t make a sound, knowing I’m done,He’ll pull the trigger and surely get his mark.Then across my inner eye flashes a scene,I’m sprinting so fast, the wind I could beat.The air in my lungs is so fresh and clean,And for my legs to take me ten miles is no feat.Then there’s Dom, Billy, and Johnny, all running.The singing of birds.Comrades laugh, oh the joy of running!We’re boys and what fun we do have.We ran on and on, breathing life, always running.I sit bolt upright, gasping, crying.White all around, blinding lights everywhere.I’m no longer in France, or in the mud dying,And a nurse is wrapping my bandage with care.”Easy lad, this won’t take long,”Says she, holding my stump of a leg that is gone.”For a man to weep is by no means wrong,But even with one leg you must carry on.”My voice won’t speak, I can’t even smile.Heck no, she wouldn’t understand.I’ve only been a man for a very short whileAnd the boy of me really ran.I don’t weep because I’ll never again run,My tears are for Johnny, Billy, and Dom.At least with no leg I shan’t need to hold a gun,Or again walk the trenches criss-crossing the Somme.