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The Fear by George Carson

The fear
Controlling my body
Invading my mind.

The silence
Of summer dawn
And glorious sunrise.

The tick
From my pocketwatch
Countdown to doom.

The lie,
The terrible lie
Which brought me here.

"Nineteen",
I said, "Nineteen"
When sixteen was true.

Seconds
Remain before my hearing
Will register the whistle.

The charge
Will begin, my life placed
In the hands of God.

A prayer
To see my mother
Just one more time.

My time
Is spent. The whistle blows
My fear racked body climbs.


Over the top
And onwards towards
The jabbering German guns.

Twenty,
Thirty yards, no more
I feel the first wound.

My jaw
Smashed apart. It hurts.
I turn in pain and terror.

Tears,
My heart, and panic.
Nothing else registers.

The next
Challenge arrives. A bullet
Lodges firmly in my hip.

Down,
Down I go and flounder
Terrified and sobbing in mud.

Blood
I feel it in my throat and
Sense my war is ending.

Dark
With sounds of battle fading
My own eternal sleep begins.

(c) George Carson 2001

Over the top

About the writer:
George Carson is 30 years old and self employed. He and his wife are expecting their first child early in 2002.
He writes: "I have no real connection with the Great War, but I realise how lucky I am that my generation and hopefully future generations will not have to make the sacrifices our grandparents and great-grandparents made. My own great grandfather went 'over-the-top' three times and was twice wounded. I cannot even imagine how terrified these men and boys were in the last moments before they attacked. Even now, 85 years on, we should remember their courage."

 

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Tuesday 14 February 2006