The landscape is vast and barren,
Sun baked earth and rocks cool in the twilight.
As the sun sets over the roasted horizon,
A lone silhouette stands, silently still.
The sun lowers a little further,
The air cools slightly as the figure moves.
With an audible 'click' there's a small spark,
The flame moves to the crushed cigarette at his lips.
His hands shake slightly as he lights the stub,
His rifle hangs low in the crook of his arm.
With another 'click' the flame is gone,
Yet his eyes hold the soft glow of the light.
Unwavering and true he stares into the distance,
Not knowing what he's looking for.
As he inhales the soft blue smoke he knows one thing,
He is alone.
'A small sacrifice for the freedom of my country.'
He mumbles into the darkness.
Knowing there's no one back home who'd understand,
Except for his mates that lay silent at his feet.
He draws heavily on his cigarette,
Feeling the smoke fill his chest.
A tear begins to slowly roll down his cheek,
As he searches the sky.
'Why?' is all he can manage to choke,
As his rifle clatters to the ground and he hangs his head.
His shoulders heaving as he begins to cry,
'A soldier's fate, I should've known.'
He mumbles through the tears.
As he stares out at the horizon once more,
The sun sets and the world turns black.
'A soldier's duty is mine to perform.'
He says slightly louder but no one hears.
Or do they?
A light zephyr whistles in his ears.
'I'll watch you mates 'till we're done,'
'I'll take piquet tonight you lot rest easy.'
Another click, another flame,
Another cigarette is alight.
A single soldier standing firm,
Staring into the darkness.
Watching over his mates, silently still,
By: Heath G. Schofield
Please Critique This Poem