Friday, August 26, 2011

The Burial of Private Colin Patrick

On the subject of the realities of war...

The Burial of Private Colin Patrick

There was no noise as the coffin was lowered
into the grave,
save for the sadness of the lonely bugle
hanging slowly in the withered air.

His comrades stood around
all of them hardened veterans of the war,
thinking of their fallen friend
while wondering which of the them
would be the next
to die.

The chaplain said a few words from the Bible
1 Peter, verses 4, 7 through 11,
after which the company commander stepped forward
and quoted from a certain President,
Abraham Lincoln,
who once said under somewhat similar circumstances
in another place:

"It is rather for us to be here dedicated
to the great task remaining before us
that from these honoured dead we take increased devotion
to that cause for which they gave the last full measure
of devotion
that we here highly resolve that these
dead shall not have died
in vain."

He concluded by telling the troops
how proud he had been to have served
with such a brave young man,
and then he turned and walked back
to the bunkers behind
the land of the red tabs.

The others marched slowly
in the opposite direction
heads bowed,
a few with salt in their eyes,
as they glanced back and bid farewell
to the mound of dirt and small white cross,
the only memorial to mark the place
of the burial of private Colin Patrick.

written & performed by Paul Kimball
Recorded on 4-track, 1997

No comments: