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Frightened to Death
Frightened to Death

There’s a timbre of weeping in the trenches.
Some lads go foetal and call for their mums.
Viewed with distain by some of their chums.

Hard-nosed veterans press them to be quiet.
A handful swiftly retreat from the frontlines.
Comrades bellow, ‘You cowardly swines.’

Sergeants threaten others will a bullet.
So they freeze and weep some more.
They are fearful, knowing what’s in store.

The thuds of mortar shells litter the night.
Sniper shots zip close above the trench.
With each one incoming these lads clench.

Fear and dread are uniform in every conflict.
Boys were terrified at Agincourt, at Waterloo,
Culloden, Juno, Passchendaele, to name a few.

Terror is unerringly piercing for any boy soldier.
Their masks of courageousness soon dissipate.
When realizing enemy shells don’t discriminate.

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