A Soldier's Choice
Too many minds in my thoughts,
Or is it thoughts on my mind?
No wait it's mines –
And my torch won't help me seek or to find them
No point in calling for help
Our twelve lieutenants were dealt with it
I think the devil just felt
Was time they fell into hell
Searching 'round for my ways out
Map says they're bound here somewhere
Been on my own for days now
Who's there, does anyone care?
That I've got no guns or no weapons
Can't even run or safe step it
But I can hear one of the –
Other sons scream their lungs skeptic
So my heart tells me to stop
This soldiers voice is familiar
But then head tells me to drop
To go turn into that killer
And to take away his gun,
Try run, duck, cock it, and pop
At them, who blew 'way my foot
It's dog eat dog when you're shot
But if I leave him in soot?
This dog will cease through the floor
And it's his life that I'VE took,
Just like a casualty of war
But might he want death this way,
To die, with pride mixed with pain?
Man what the hells a medal when,
You've just turned nineteen today?
I trudge in pain to his side,
My brain is so undecided
I've never felt so alive,
At same time felt like I'd died
Conscience is stronger, I'm sure
My morals – Reap what ye sow
His life is bleeding for war
Seeping right out of his pores
Blood clots, with ligament drips
Gun-shots, they leave you in bits!
He's like an empty pit, with
Intestines to appendix
All rendered shredded to bits
Countless bowels need to be fixed
His chest is so molested
His lungs, they breath through his ribs
So could we make it to base?
War is no game, for God's Sake
We can't reset or replay it!
When someone's REAL death has come
So I look up at his face
Smothered in blood, I just gape
He slept next to my hammock, man!
I hope he has something to say
And I know that he's brave,
There's no way this is his grave
But as MY heart's in MY stomach,
Hope I don't fail you, young James
Your surname will remain, though
So only me and you know it
And instead of speaking for fame
I'll be concealing this poet
James has a family, he told me
In this world, they were his only
Two little girls at home,
He felt that he had dis-owned them
Each night with tears in his eyes
Mixed feelings, fears and despise
He used to tell me these reasons
Of why he's bleeding inside
Why wasn't he the good father,
He always wanted to be?
He used to pray to Our Father
"Please God allow me to see!
My only prides and my joys"
And that included the mother
He always wanted boys, but
Soon as he saw them, he loved them
With all his heart and his soul
But now his heart has this hole
It came from enemy lines
Bullets flew right past his door
He grabs my hand with his hand
His fingers barely have strength
And asks: "What happened you man?"
While I see his wrenched chest infected
"I won't make it!", he's frowning
"I've broken my promises!"
I say: "Shhh, just lay down"
Trying to figure a synopsis
Do I put pressure on it?
I'm a soldier! I'm not a doctor!
He said "I'm dying, I feel it"
I tell him: "I swear, that's a chopper!"
Maybe I'll scream for help,
They're gonna hear us this time!
"Help!" Can you see that we're here?!
Because we see you there flying!
He's yelling "Promises!"
Too late, our choppers long gone
"Listen, I've promised my kids,
I'd never leave them at home,
Promised them both on my life
There'd be a husband and wife
Which means two parents to be
Their guides through life, be their lights"
"There'll be no darkness my babies
We are your sound, we're your sight,
Decisions you'll need to make?
We'll be the ones by your side"
"I don't wanna die here" he said
I yelled "I'll take you with lead!"
My legs are feeling all wedged
But I'd kill myself if I'd fled
Us two, we're built for this war
Same time both living as hostages
I could have run away, sure
but I stopped, considered my options
Could have continued poppin'
But this civilian in costume
Would've been finished unproperly
So glad conscience got atop me?
But now, it seems that this plan
You see that this man
Took fire –
It's leaking like sand
This governments lied –
Why we both fight for these smilers?
Dough-grabbers, laughers, back-stabbers
They're liars reading one liners,
When they're in front of that camera!
I try to figure my wounds
Same time, adrenaline booms
I've took him up in my arms
My eyes, they clocked with a zoom
The base was near, I could see it!
There creeping neatly through trees
Something just flew through me too, but
I know I'm destined to reach
With one foot carrying his body
My heart is racing too fast
'We're gonna make it my buddy!'
I feel so free, nearly passed –
The worst, the base looks near now
I swear I'm flying on acid,
There's nothing left to fear now
I'm really calm, really placid
Holding his soul in my arms
Don't feel no holes in my arms
One thing swarms my brain though –
Suppose I never enrolled in the army?
But then it comes, the pain
I just fall down to my knees
Have I just made a mistake?
As troops are rounding on me
And James is taken away
Straight away, I start to pray
I pass out
I just lay
And see a couple of angels
So now five years on,
From when I felt I was free
All those shed tears? Gone!
No-one remembers poor me –
I took in six bullets –
He took in five to his chest
One of us survived when they pulled them
Take one guess who ends up dead –
So I'm asking for a reason
Please give to me at least one
For why my country needed me
And in my hands was this gun
Because we've all lost
Loved ones –
We'll never forget
We are the sons of someone
Forever respect –
So if it's one choice
Between your life or HIS death
This kid is one of your boys
Who's near the end of his breath
Would you help out a soldier?
Could spoil your hopes and your dreams
But maybe when you're older
His smile forever will beam
That's the soldiers choice!
by Dermot Robert Fahy
... who is a work-study student at a university management course
in London (UK), while writing lyrics and poetry in his Irish
tradition. The grandson of Great War veterans, this piece was
inspired by the death of a British soldier in Iraq, the uncle of