I am the damned and damaged warrior
Mighty presence on an arid plain
Waste-land empty and scorch-scarred parched
Looking to the dazzling dawn
Of another baking, aching, dry day
Of another dying, desert year.
They watched bold marching
To each pitiful skirmish
And every blood-hungry moment
Of all the days and nights.
They watched corded muscles
Spasm and seize
With each call to stretch and pull
And drag the weary-worn
To fight again.
Let no man call with shrill-shriek of the owl
Across the night-filled silence
Let no-one ever whisper in the dark, dearth
Across the shadowed chasm
I am alone within a purple shade
Night-cloaked in cunning strange
I am the time-deadened, weary watchman
Locked in a forever-circle of despair
Manacled with lead, banded with steel
Tight twisted and knotted by a skein of silk
Woven tightly by the softest hand
Strengthened by certainty and pure calm
There is no escape to unearth
Is skirting the edge of existence
Picking at the loose threads
Teasing and niggling the fraying filaments
Laddering and snagging
And pulling, pulling out beyond time
The winding-sheet, the sack-cloth shroud
The only closing choice.
© M.L.Emmett 04/08/98
revised 31/08/2014; finally revised 16/02/2016.