Extract from Elegy of a Common Soldier, by Dennis B Wilson:
You sought for glory? There is none in war, Among the truths historians ignore: The tragic dust of battered town and home, Reduced to wrecks which orphaned children roam; The cold, unsheltered nights in dismal rain; Exhausted men, who long for sleep in vain; Confusion, noise and smoke, foul reeking mud, And countless shattered bodies, oozing blood: The pain before the final choking breath; The vile decay, the sickly smell of death, Which does not come triumphant or in rest But suddenly, unheralded, and dress’d In guise of hedgerow, tree or growing wheat, Or lurks amid the flow’rs beneath your feet.
You seek the friend but lately by your side?
Did you not hear? He called you ere he died And so escaped, thank God, a life of dread Among the broken wrecks, the living dead; The blind, the maimed and mentally deranged, Condemned to live, from life itself estranged.
The battle lulls, to feed that secret fear Of things unknown, but there are none to jeer, for though each man is inwardly afraid, Of hidden fear is courage truly made, And for each hero by the World acclaimed A countless number die alone, unnamed; Forgotten by the ones they died to save, To find cold glory in a foreign grave.