For Poet’s Day, an ode to brothers

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Friday was Poets Day so I am sharing one of the poems from my book Reflections of War.

A cry for help, a groan of pain

Was heard across the Afghan plain,

It broke the stillness of the night,

A dying Royal, his final fight.

The guy’s at camp they heard the groan,

It chilled them to their very bone,

For they knew for certain, soon or late,

They may suffer the self same fate.

My God! That’s Smudge! Cried Sergeant Dear,

“Im going out to bring him back here!”

“You silly man!” The troop officer said,

“You’ll be the one to end up dead!”

No matter what your strength or grudge,

You’ll never reach your brother, Smudge,

And if you do, It’s sure as fate,

I know damn well you’ll be too late.

Dear knew his young boss meant him well,

But inner thoughts he could not tell,

For brother is a scared term,

Something a bootneck has to earn.

For Smudge and he had shared their woes,

The sand, the heat, the nights so cold,

They’d shared their hopes and future dreams,

A brother’s trust, a Royal Marine.

Dear left the troop officer standing there,

And crawled out into the cool night air,

A desperate try, with chances slim,

But Smudge would do the same for him.

The boss there in admiration stood,

To order Dear was no damn good,

And though Dear crawled through sand and mines,

He’d never get to Smudge on time.

Hours passed, the officer’s worries grew,

He doubted Dear would make it through,

Then a sentry’s challenge filled the night,

And Sergeant Dear came into sight.

Covered in sand and blood was he,

An horrendous sight for all to see,

And on his back, all covered in blood,

He carried the lifeless body of Smudge.

“I told you so!” The troop officer said,

“Your trip was useless, Smudge was dead,

You risked your life at no avail,

On a dangerous mission, that was bound to fail!”

Dear lowered his precious brother down,

A thoughtful smile replaced a frown,

“Sir, I have no reason to repent,

Smudge is dead, but I’m glad I went!”

“For he was alive when I got there,

He couldn’t speak; I didn’t care,

I held him close to let him know,

A brother cared, would miss him so.

Then Smudge’s lips moved, I bent down low,

His precious thoughts I had to know,

With eyes of trust and body numb,

Smudge whispered : “Sarg, I knew you’d come!”

David Lilburn, Broadfield