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Poets Of The Trench Part II

I remember sitting in the train.

Though it seems ages ago, I figure that

no more than a couple of weeks have elapsed since then.

I also remember the thoughts racing in my mind. I'd read that before going

into battle, even the most ardent veteran soldier feels the pangs of fear,

and I wondered why I only felt a sense of numbness in my stomach and legs.

Premonition perhaps?

During training we'd been told by our senior officers always to keep our

carbines clean of grime.'Cleansed mine for what might have been the fiftieth time, whilst rolling

through the French countryside listening to the distant thunder.By then I didn't realise that it was the mellow booming of

the Germans'

heavy artillery, shelling our line. Or, maybe, ours shelling theirs?

I'd heard that even if you're dug in, in a shelter, the big howitzers

could get you.

In the train I split a cigarette with a guy from back home. This was his

second trip to the front. He told me how his former company was set to dig

out a bombed cellar, and how the people they found had been uninjured by

the shrapnel and fire. They had been crushed by the pressure of the

detonation - their lungs had been pushed through their mouths.He also told me to swap my bayonet for a field shovel at any

given moment.

"When you're at close quarters, a sharpened field shovel can lob the head

off a mans shoulders. And it won't break or get stuck in the ribs like a

bayonet." That's what he said.His name is Liam, or was Liam. As I'm writing this, I can hear him

screaming. I can just barely make him out in a crater next to the German

trench. Horribly entangled in barbwire. He's not screaming for his mom or

anything. Just screaming. Maybe his throat has been lacerated. It sounds

kind of gurgling

Poets Of The Trench Part II /

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