June 30, 2009

Folly

We stand hungrily in the trees. We are no longer complete. Our humanity has been ripped from us by the unfeeling rip of metal and black powder. We hand listlessly, wind chimes in the fog of war. No one will grant us what we need. If there is a god, we have yet to see him.
What we have seen is the horror that befalls young men when the old men have disagreements. We were studying to become engineers, lawyers, and doctors. Hans Costrop’s grandfather had already set him up in business. He came from a long line of successful men. They all died before Hans, but now that line is broken. I think I can see part of him in the lower branches.
This is not the end that we expected. Poets have spoken beautiful words about warfare. Half a league onward. If only half a league. In three months the line shifted and changed, but after those three months only one hundred yards were gained. I saw my first bodies, they were the bodies of my friends and colleagues. We had played boyhood games in schoolyards together. Now those games are no more. No more than half a league, and the five hundred were the ones that fell on one day.
These trenches are the valley of death. God is my shepherd, but he has misguided us all. He who sacrificed his only begotten son has sacrificed thousands more of his children. What folly has this brought us? I shift in the wind, and my comrades walk on, not looking at the horrors that we are. I cannot blame them. I have stopped looking and closed my eyes myself.