The Hubris of men

This was originally written for a regional writing compettion commemorating the first world war


1. chapter one

The Hubris of men, what has it wrought?

                They burrow down into the pores of my skin, like rabbits burrowing into their holes, like the boys whom come in the waves of youth, leaving their footprints in my soil, up turning  the serenity and sacrament of my body, defiling me with their hollers and listless games.

                Yet these men that run across the hills of my knuckles and burrow themselves in the creases  and crevices of my skin are different, they are like the rabbits who often sought after a meal, unwittingly bringing back poison into their lair,  only to curl into themselves and die.

                 Serendipity is cruel. This time they defile my body with their war banners, enveloping  me in their lie, from the scaffolds of my bones they strike others down.

                Staggering in knee high liquid mud, in the squalor, faces white and wretched, skin prickled, in cold sweat, hair plastered to their sullen brows.

                 They are trapped,  yet they leave me in their minds, retreating back into a gilded cage of their own making. They travel on warm undulating breezes while the air is cold and still, they follow my well trodden trials home, leaving one part of me to hide in another in the tight embrace of memory and fantasy in equal parts.

                A boy that I once cradled in the palm of my hand, who laid in the long grass looking up at my star studded sky, holding onto the arm of a girl as if she was the only thing anchoring him; stopping him from falling up into the expanse of my sky. That boy in the moment had thought to himself how life could not get any fuller or any more blessed then this.

                Now, that same boy laid face down in the mud weeping for his ephemeral  life to end. and when he ran out for the last time, their foot falls pelting  me like cruel autumn rain as I rumbled and give beneath them. The bullet that would single his end met him and burrowed deep into the cavity of his chest.

                He felt only relief.

                But he did not see the face of the girl that he had once laid with, in the grass, like I. How her face unravelled at the news, how she stayed up at night looking up at the same night sky, tracing each jewel that embellished my face  and wondered how travesties like this could happen.

                That girl would swear to her grave that no sane god would have allowed it.

                I answered her with the rumble of mournful thunder.

                They leave me to my grief, overwhelmed as I am, with the feeling of a million boys festering in my ventricle. They slumber under my heart.

                 My body is no longer mine, they claim every inch of me, their  blood and my mire,  turning and mixing and congealing together in the darkness and the abyss, I lose more of myself each day.

                 When they bring the gas, they wreck me with their chemicals, my body shakes with the acrid melancholy, they leave me bloated, violated and trembling in the cavity of my own being.

                Great fires blaze in the sockets of my eyes, the twisting black columns of smoke rising and filling the expanse of my lungs suffocating me and  I weep  blackened tears onto the earth.

                My sisters and I, the men carry our names on their lips, on their last baited breath; Somme, Ypres, Dunkirk.

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