Poems by Aswini Mishra

Death of a soldier

a poem by Aswini Mishra

Face down in the mud,
I taste the bitterness of my blood.
My joints are aching,
Feels like my bone’s breaking.

I feel a little less than alive,
At the point where all you want to do is survive.
Nothing else matters, it’s all irrelevant,
My view’s distorted and my soul forever bent.

So I hold my breath and lay still,
My mortal enemy tries to test my will.
Kicks my ribs, crushes my hand with his rifle butt,
I want to scream out but i stay shut.

I should have fought for all I was worth,
But I just lay there and swallowed dirt.
My battalion was dead, over and done with,
My only concern was how many intact bones I could run with.

They walked around, poking the corpses,
Measuring their gains against our losses.
Probably seeing if we had lost as many as they had,
I remember killing one of them, a young lad.

One in his arm, two in his sockets,
He was reloading, pulling ammo out his pockets,
He was crying tears of blood before he fell,
I know I’m a soldier but I think I’ll go to hell.

No time now for pity or contemplation,
My sole focus was self-preservation,
So I waited till they went out of sight,
Ran like hell, knees shaking with fright.

Teeth chattering though it was middle of June,
But I made one mistake, I assumed,
I played a game of chance that they wouldn’t double check,
And I paid the price with the gunfire that I met.

Death of a soldier, not of a coward,
So I turned around to face the bullets they showered,
Screamed like a mad man, fired till I dropped,
First shot in my gut, but I was not stopped.

Bang Bang Bang! Another in my chest,
Two in my skull as I drop to eternal rest,
Gone to a place where guns don’t exist,
As my body decays and my name goes on the martyr’s list.

Now I’m a martyr, just another scratch on the wall,
They’ll give my family a flag, hold a function in town hall,
And then others will die and then some more,
I’m just glad it’s over, I’ve reached my shore.

This is the big barracks in the sky.
Where all real soldiers go when they die.