I feel I have to mechanically march
day and night, night and day
till my feet begin to swell
in fresh, bright blood
never slackening or altering pace,
like a brave little soldier only
thinking of the long trudge back home.
I feel I have to lay still,
under the trees, by the side
of an alien road,
dreaming of some far place -
(a kind of brand new loneliness)
like a brave deserter thinking of
the long trudge back home.
Today I feel the breath of fear
on my face and a thin circle of ice
around my soldier's and my deserter's
heart. Like a child emerging
from the vagueness and the strangeness
of shadows fluctuating in a thick darkness.
Dreams of the past are beating implacably
on my brain altogether with those other
memories of brutality and silence, without
murmur or protest -
night and day, day and night
I have to mechanically march
like a brave little soldier!