By a half-ruined wall the soldiers huddle.
The artillery is quiet now—
In the eerie silence amid the rubble fragments,
stripped leaves and broken branches,
a pebble rattles beneath a boot.
Dust trickles, settles.
Knee-high, an unexploded shell
lodged deep within the wall
draws sick fascination.
The next few minutes will decide their destiny.
What lies behind the wall?
Grim faces tell the story many already know.
They've written their last letters
entrusted to CO or friend.
Now their lives have come down to this--
One moment in time
crouched behind a wall
half-way up a hill overlooking Peronne
in Flanders, 1918.
© J Bandidt
Written at Mont St Quentin, June 2014.