How did they feel?

It Might Be a Mountain


From where we stand,

it might be a mountain

of hay or of hell,

this looming terrain.


We limp in split boots,

torn coats and commands

like starved deer in their

skins in winter, and

we whisper through weeds,

we cough through wet leaves

piling like corpses

beneath ancient trees.


Trudging up hills and dredging

our flasks, we want water and wishes

again. And we muse on the honor

of keeping the gray

through hills of briars

and summits of clay.


We soldiers of glory,

some, barely-grown,

beg for our breath

without really knowing

which battles we fight,

what forts we defend,

what is an enemy,

or who is a friend.


from Poems from the Battlefield, copyright 2009

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt

all rights reserved.

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