Friday, June 6, 2014

Forward! Forward! Forward!

The men, most recently boys, 
clamber into small boats.
Swells, towering above open tops,
fill craft with water and doubt.

Packed in cold, wet misery
they stand, shoulder-to-shoulder
struggle against a roiled ocean,
reality and the unknowns.

Floating boxes, filled with hopes,
cast away from mother ships.
Certain death now within arm's reach.
Curses, prayers and cries offered up.

A boat tips, they go into the water
nothing can be done
except to witness final battles,
as this one drives to sand – and hell.

Still untouched, yet already scarred.
Bullets scream overhead (and everywhere else),
their trajectories always mysterious.
The common plea: “Let this be done.”

Finally, all-stop…for the vessel.
The ramp, once a shield, falls in expectation.
The next order unneeded:
Forward! Forward! Forward!

Noise, noise everywhere – deafening beyond words.
Brothers float by, borne on reddened surf.
From above, “saws” rip the multitudes.
No rescue or sanctuary – the boat is gone.

Onward, half-swimming, half-crawling
through the wire, traps and humanity.
A singular thought: “To land” –
even if just for final rest.

Ordered chaos swirls and cloaks.
The way ahead: the only way.
Fighting with backs to the sea.
There is no return. 

– Jeff Bliss

No comments: