and at this price comes victory then
when the wailing day is done
and is finally measured in the face down
warriors dressed in mud.

There are prayers here singing in the soundless death
breath of wind as it rustles in the width
of the battle waiting  bone yard in the breadth
of the dead man’s mouth like a grave gaping
unmarked, and unblessed;

this is the band that heralds the dead.
Red songs bleeding on a starched white bed
of daybreak. These cavern sockets in the head
of the dead men are the only eyes that
resemble even remotely those of the laughing ladies
here in the fields of the forgotten and the long bled.

Listen, these were men battling
cattling themselves lower than shuttling
ankle chained animals to the slaughter.

Listen, there is something strange
and sacred in this battlefield silence.

Listen …

Ian David Arlett