Death Of Private Michaels II by Andrew Scott

 

People out there say I passed
many years ago.
I cannot disagree with them.
Feel lifeless, full of nightmares.

I stay awake when I can,
struggling with emotions
of the horrors of yesteryear.

When I do sleep
it is in small increments.
The shakes wake me up.

I stay in this house
so people do not see
me in the condition I am.

Thankfully people stay away.
No townsfolk want to come
to a house that looks older
that what it is.
The overgrown, weedy lawn
assist with this.

I was not always like this.
How I got to where I am
is a strange journey
that more than one have taken.

****************************************************************************

I was eighteen years old.
The age I could have a license
however could not go to a pub.

High school had just finished for me.
Did not know what to do next.
Working at our local lumber mill
was not an option
that I wanted to explore
even though my father
and his father worked there.
It was not for me.

While some started there
right out of high school
I drifted without options.
My father was angered
over what he called my laziness.

I saw an office to enlist
after another household fight.
Saw it as my way out
hopefully to never come back
to this corner of New Brunswick.
Little did I know.

****************************************************************************

The time in training at Pennfield Ridge
was nothing to prepare us or me
for what was seen when we landed
in the battle worn, North France.

We were preparing for Vimmy Ridge.
It was March, 1917.
Our Corps were to raid trenches
to gain on the enemy before the main fight.

The battle in the trenches against the Germans
was an aggressive, bloody affair
with so many dead and injured
for both allies and enemies.

It was my fourth trench raid,
We did not surprise the enemy,
blood was everywhere.
The confusion and screaming,
bullets and bodies,
then nothing.

****************************************************************************

I woke up in a bed,
some hospital somewhere.
Through blurred vision
I saw the lines of beds
littered with bodies.
Men crying, stained blood covers.

My pain felt so intense.
did not know what was causing it
until I went to wipe my eyes.
My right hand was gone,
missing up to half my forearm.
The scream that came out of me.

I was there for a little over a month
then I got papers to go home.
The one place I longed for.

****************************************************************************

A hero’s welcome is what I got
when I finally arrived home.
A meal that only a mother could make,
pride in my father’s eyes.

The nightmares started after that.
I would say just a few weeks later.
Screams that would wake everyone.
The trenches being replayed
in black and white.
Cannot even explain the pain
in a hand that was not there.

****************************************************************************

Several decades later
I am what you would call a recluse.
Stopped socializing shortly after I got home.
Could not deal with the stares.

Most of the townsfolk have left
that would truly remember me.
The new people leave me alone.
Like it that way.

Part of me is still in that trench.
Sometimes I wish the rest of me
was buried there too.
The person I was
died that day.
Now I wait for the remainder
to do the same.

April 29, 2020
©Andrew Scott – Just a Maritime Boy 2020

 

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Andrew Scott is a native of Fredericton, NB. During his time as an active poet, Andrew Scott has taken the time to speak in front of classrooms, judge poetry competitions as well as had over 200 hundred writings published worldwide in such publications as The Art of Being Human, Battered Shadows and The Broken Ones.

Andrew Scott has published five poetry books, Snake With A Flower, The Phoenix Has Risen, The Path, The Storm Is Coming and Searching and one book of photography, Through My Eyes.

 
 

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