Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Time-consuming (02/24/11)
TITLE: Russian Roulette in the Trenches
By Rachel Phelps
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You think you’re doing the right thing.
You’re off to save the world.
Gonna be a hero when you get home.
Then you get here and you realize
there ain’t nothing
but death and stink and mud
and counting the seconds
before the shell hits.
Just passing the time.
Waiting for the trench fever
for that whiff of gas before the mask goes on,
for that shell with your name on it.
We’re all just waiting to die.
The War to End All Wars.
And our lives, while we’re at it.
They say it’s to show how brave you are.
I say spinning that chamber
Just fills the time till
the gas or bombs get you.
You can ignore it if you like.
Make pretty trinkets out of bullets and
Write home about the bully job we’re doing.
Maybe even read the Bible Mum sent along with you.
All the “love thy neighbors” you can preach
Don’t keep the rats from feeding on you
when you sleep.
It won’t even drown the whistle of
The bombs or the moans from
You start thinking about things.
Just to pass the time.
You wonder if we were wrong from the start.
Maybe this isn’t the way.
Aren’t our neighbors those blokes across the line?
Maybe we got enemies closer than the next trench.
Closer than the mud, the lice, the stink.
Maybe the guns shouldn’t be pointing at each other.
You think. You wonder.
You maybe reach for that Bible.
Maybe even crack it open.
Just to pass the time.
Something to make you want to keep going.
Something to make the days and nights seem worth the living.
Something that keeps you from turning that gun
Or maybe just something to pass the time
This Jesus got a rough shake, too.
Seems he had his share of long, miserable nights.
Makes you wonder
Would he sit in this ditch and spin the chamber?
Would he tell us to be good soldiers and
kill our neighbors?
Something to think about.
Author's Note: Russian Roulette is a potentially lethal game of chance in which participants place a single round in a revolver, spin the cylinder, place the muzzle against their head and pull the trigger. It is thought to have originated not long before WWI.
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