The Stranger

In no man’s land the sky was bright,
The night alight with blood,
Lost in a shallow grave lay I, 
Alone amongst the mud.
Where was the wind that blew the tears,
So gently from my face?
Where was the God who’d promised,
Not to leave me in this place? 
Abandoned by my fortune,
And forgotten too by chance,
In earnest I began to cry,
Alone somewhere in France.
Then through my grief I heard a noise,
The sound of boots on ground,
A stranger’s face looked down upon,
The lost boy he had found.
“Your crying cease,” the stranger said,
“It will be fine, you’ll see,”
He bending down to pick me up,
To safety carried me.
When back behind the lines I asked,
The man who saved the dead,
Why had he risked his life for me,
And this is what he said:
“Though not for freedom do I fight,
Nor do I war for fame,
I will most gladly give my life,
To spare my brothers pain.”
“I do not place my faith in war, 
Or think that it is right,
I only trust a brother’s love,
And this is why I fight.”
I spent the day a-wondering,
About the stranger’s words,
The truth becoming clear to me,
But that was when I heard.
The stranger was estranged no more,
From death, who masters all,
A sniper’s shot had found him out,
At night; none saw him fall.
I could not find the stranger,
Though I looked for where he lay,
But ‘till my death I’ll thank him,
At the start of every day.
So in each morning’s sun I see,
The bravest man I’ve known,
Whose fate was not to answer, 
All the loving calls from home.
And with each ageing breath I breathe,
I weep with coward’s shame,
For he who risked his life for me,
And did not ask my name. 
An old man now, as luck would be,
I’ve seen it in the end:
‘Greater love hath none than he,
who give his life for his friend.’

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Filed under Beyond The Grave, My War Poetry

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