In the silent space where old meets new,
the birthlight of the infant dawn
crawling in through the gap
between shade and sill,
chasing the small boat
that has come adrift from its moorings.
Sliding back down between slumber’s sheets
it slips further from my grasp,
bobbing above my head
on the surface of awake.
Hours later I rise
to find that it has already sailed
on the morning tide.
So many fallen before us;
battle fatigued and ill-equipped
to face the enemy,
yet still we rise to fight,
after a sleepless night weighed down
by the mud and the shit and the stench of death
to eke out what is left of our meagre rations,
for tomorrow we march on empty stomachs.
These clothes are not my own;
sewn to bone, button-holed to skin,
neatly pressed, hemmed in,
diaphanous, worn thin.
A promise-woven pelt,
yet you have felt what I tried to hide;
the frayed, grey remnants
that I have stitched inside.