Saturday 12 November 2016

The Dead

I am the dirt beneath your iron wheels
The blood that soaks the earth as you pass.

I am the skin-wrapped boy, heart thudding in fear
Crouching in a hole in the cold desert night
While your flares turn the sky day-bright
Waiting for your tanks to roll over me.

I am the seared flesh that burns in your wake,
The skull covered by the earth
The trophy photographs your cameras take.
I am the skull on your stake.

And I am more.
I am the medals on your generals’ chests
I am your triumphal arches,
Celebrating the victory of your kings.

Without me, where would your glory be?
Without my terror sweat, my blood-tears
Where your victory?

I am the nameless one, the faceless one
For whom women in forgotten towns wait and cry.

When you put on your uniform
When you march in your parade
I am the bloodstain on your cuff
I am the cheers about your head.

I am the one who completes you
I am the one who died for you
I am the one who made you you

I am the dead.
I am the dead.

Copyright B Purkayastha 2016


  1. Bill,
    So very, very true. Having been in the damn fool imperial war in Vietnam, I agree with this post totally. Only those who have not been in combat glorify war and killing. I am fortunate in that I have been able to deal with my war experiences and no longer get nightmares and my PTSD is mostly under control. I know that I was/am responsible for the deaths of other human beings, directly and indirectly. I have had to live with this truth and will continue until I die. War is just mass murder my friend, there is no 'glory' in it at all, just death and destruction.

    1. I wish every veteran felt as you do.

      And I wish that all the chicken hawks would listen to Bill and yourself.



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