Pitmen worked beneath the skin, their charges primed,
to smash each fortress on each bitter crest.
They’d exhale death upon the hour, and time
the start – the steady boys above would do the rest.
Heads down, upfront, the innocent of every land and sin,
crouched serving men from villages and shops.
Firm-hoped, led-on, and keen to finish with a win,
then each proud son of earth could get back to his crops.
Think on them and how it was to cross the line,
to face the day of victories with hope, then chained
to stumble on with slaughtered friends before, behind –
to master enemies within they never had been trained.
The fields of blood are now the fields of corn –
farms have tidied up the broken hearts and bones.
Swept them to cemeteries where stone’s the uniform;
here crushed hopes are found, and each visitor, alone.