We were drawn by numbers to the line
A firing squad in all but name.
So in the early morning light, we had dressed
And our deeds were blessed
As we marched to take our place in the row,
Ordained by others to deal the final blow
Of sharpened lead that would rise from our earthy post.
And as we wait, the cries of prisoners from their cells
With no case to answer, we were told, broke the icy air.
I saw their eyes, wide with blood-stained tears,
As they were pushed into place for us to choose
How we could make easy their dispatch a joy for us
That was to share and tell how we were brave
And then forget them as we make for home past ranks of the dead.
They lie proud in rows, our Glorious Dead, they will say
With broken necks and bloodied breasts where once a heart would beat.
And as the sky grows dark and cold turns trodden leaves to brown
A few are left behind, with necks entwined but still with life.
They were not deemed good for us, and so without fuss
Their warmth bled into the ground taking their life away
And a fox will stand and protect his prey.