A dark, dusty trench
Brave men turned pale
A deep rotting stench
All encompassing – a ghastly veil.

The air raid sirens blared
Breaking the eerie silence
Injured hordes running scared
Emphasizing the mindless violence.

He awoke from his nap
Which itself was fleeting
No slumber for the condemned
Only an untimely demise
Slowly creeping.

He grabbed his closest ally
A solid hunk of wood and steel
Went down to search for rats
His only filling meal.

Suddenly a bright flash
And a deep visceral fear
A deafening crash
The Germans were here!

He took his post
Like so many more
Standing at the precipice 
Of death’s dark door.

A duty 
One must fulfill
In order to survive
He must kill.

The corpses of his allies
Reeked of agony and sorrow
An unsure time
An unsure tomorrow.

The panzers roared
And the Reich drew neigh
He could see them now 
And hear their battlecry.

He knew he stood no chance
In full awareness of his plight 
What was a 19 year old 
In front of Hitler’s military might.

Across his vision
Flashed his crying mother
A family devastated
An abandoned younger brother.

It was in this moment

He understood 
The futility of resistance
There was no way back
Not to a normal subsistence.

He stood bewildered 
Fighting for an anonymous cause
Political ideology 
One of mankind’s many flaws.

He heard the door break open
And in came a ghostly haze
The SS soldier, 
Met his grim gaze.

He had no urge to fight
For his conflict was within
His will to live obliterated
Ready to pay for his every sin.

He was taken prisoner

And presented before his jury
A shooting squad
Given one last wish
Till he was one with God.

‘One last sunrise’
Was all he craved
After all the evils experienced
He was ready to be saved.

By the cold, beautiful 
Kiss of his one true love
Reduced to a number
waiting for him,above

The sun awoke
And beaches of France turned red
A shot rang out 
And a mother violently awoke
From her uncomfortable bed

Jean-Claude had been
shot in the head
No more discomfort
For he was dead

A tear rolled down
A wrinkled cheek
Just another statistic
A soldier too weak.


–Sourav Das.

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