“AFTER taking part in the service at the cenotaph recalling the outbreak of the first world war and reflecting on the massive slaughter of men during that conflict I am moved to submit the following:” – Peter Ainscough:
Christ on the battlefield
I shoot and crucify the Christ again
And join the crowd of crucifying men,
With rifles to the shoulder, bren guns loaded,
While shells and bombs are all around exploded.
The judgements made elsewhere now come to pass
And bodies scattered lie in mud, on grass.
The smell of smoke and filth masks rotting death
Of that soft, calm intensity, man’s breath.
My conscience nags, my sleep, disturbed by dreams
Of blood, and crunch of bones and dying screams
Of men I killed before they slaughtered me –
The twisted face of death I still can see.
Where is the resurrection in this mess,
The raising of each man from his distress?
But Christ will come again; then peace will reign
And man will embrace damaged man again.
A very passionate and moving piece from Peter.