Passchendale: 3rd Battle of Ypres, 1916

Written by: William Masonis

Even the dead reject this blasted earth.

The ground, such as it is,
Is freshly Antidiluvean,
And the corpses swim within its tumbled, heaving masses
Blood and mud the mortar
Holding the chaos together.

The sun is weak,
Ashamed to break the haze
And bring to light the obscenities transpiring here.

The whistles blow
And the troglodytes emerge
From their respective holes,
Staggering towards one another
Through watery craters
Over the mincemeat of comrades
To add themselves to the swimming sacrifice
Constantly on offer 
To the insatiable, sole diety of this place,
The Mud-God, Futility.

     They are men no more,
     Those who struggle 'neath
     The leaden skies
     The wan sun
     Of the sodden moonscape
     That is Passchendale.

     They are only raging beasts
     Trading pain for pain,
     All trace of cause or reason
     Lost in the maelstrom of their collective misery -

And the only escape
Is to slay and to be slain;
To join the bitter shades
Ascending with the fog and smoke
Through the wall of cloud above,
To vanish into the icy deeps
Among the far, impassive stars.