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Iniquity - Poets Of The Trench Part Ii

Iniquity
Lyrics: Fagerlind

I remember sitting in the train.
Though it seems ages ago, I figure that
no more than a couple of weeks have elapsed since then.
I also remember the thoughts racing in my mind. I'd read that before going
into battle, even the most ardent veteran soldier feels the pangs of fear,
and I wondered why I only felt a sense of numbness in my stomach and legs.
Premonition perhaps?
During training we'd been told by our senior officers always to keep our
carbines clean of grime.'Cleansed mine for what might have been the fiftieth time, whilst rolling
through the French countryside listening to the distant thunder.By then I didn't realise that it was the mellow booming of
the Germansheavy artillery, shelling our line. Or, maybe, ours shelling theirs?
I'd heard that even if you're dug in, in a shelter, the big howitzers
could get you.
In the train I split a cigarette with a guy from back home. This was his
second trip to the front. He told me how his former company was set to dig
out a bombed cellar, and how the people they found had been uninjured by
the shrapnel and fire. They had been crushed by the pressure of the
detonation - their lungs had been pushed through their mouths.He also told me to swap my bayonet for a field shovel at any
given moment.
"When you're at close quarters, a sharpened field shovel can lob the head
off a mans shoulders. And it won't break or get stuck in the ribs like a
bayonet." That's what he said.His name is Liam, or was Liam. As I'm writing this, I can hear him
screaming. I can just barely make him out in a crater next to the Germantrench. Horribly entangled in barbwire. He's not screaming for his mom or
anything. Just screaming. Maybe his throat has been lacerated. It sounds
kind of gurgling. And he's lost both his legs... Guess he won't be screaming
much longer...
God I wished that I had a grenade or something, so I could end his misery
right now.
Well, even if I had a grenade, I doubt that I would be able to hurl it to
him.I've been holding most of my entrails back with one hand, since darkness
fell.Irony of ironies - the German that opened my stomach knew the trick with
the field shovel, too.Or maybe he wasn't German at all. They have a Hungarian penal legion
posted along the line.Maybe he was one of them?
I crushed his head with my respirator canister. Never thought of that as a
weapon, but in the heat of close combat, anything will do... I've seen
soldiers gouge each other's eyes with bare hands... And I saw a boy, no more
than fifteen or sixteen, rip a Germans throat out with his teeth.
It is madness! Mere animals clawing at each other.

Now in the breaks between the drumfires, I can hear the enemy mustering in
their trenches. I can hear the sucking sound of boots being yanked out of
the knee-deep clay, and the dry clanging of a water-cooled MG being
reloaded.The next charge can't be far off, and yet still fear eludes me. For the
first time in weeks, I'm certain of what's going to happen.
When the sun rises and hardens the clay, I'll be here no longer. The same
numbness I felt in train has returned, and I know my time is at hand.
Guess I'll be screaming no more...

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