After the Battle

Margaret Naylor

After the battle comes the silence.
All colour is leached from the land.
The dawn is grey, as if the sun is ashamed
to look on the devastation.
This is spring, but where is the lush green
that should soften the stark outlines?
Acres of black mud, mounded, grotesque.
Black branches, black flies, black smells.

Now grey shadows glide across the waste
gathering broken bodies. These were men,
their story just begun, eyes bright with hope.
Now their eyes stare, blank with the final shock.
This is April, when gentle rains warm the earth,
life surging eager in the veins of men.
But here the blood lies cold, soaked into mud.
After the battle there is only death.
And silence.