The Private looks up over the Jerry cans and spent cases
“We are men of free-will. We love and are loved.
We have freedom of thought,
Freedom of conscience.
Yet we are sent to bleed, to die in foreign lands.
We are men
We should be free.”
‘We are not men,’ the Corporal replies,
Our will is not free; it has been bought
For a shilling and a sense of security.
Our freedom is in our hearts, not in our action.
We are not men; we are soldiers.
We have sold ourselves.
We will do our duty.’
Without another murmur
They pass on their notes
And climb over the top
Into a cloud of smoke and gunfire
And fall among the poppies