Wiping the spit from the side of his mouth,
the faith-full soldier stares at a fire
crackling in the apse of the empty hall.
Remnants of a uniform yoke his shoulders,
its pigments masked by a mantle of dirt;
a chevron tatters from a shoddy sleeve.
You cannot sing His praises whilst
you starve. The moon is in the east!"
their simple carvings a source of tinder
for heat and light. A ligament of smoke
caresses a body broken on a cross.
Curls of old paint peel from the Christ
to reveal its grains and varicose knots.
to eat. We have to harvest roots,
collect the seed and rake the soil."
taller than the first, his tatter as thin
as his limb joints. She jolts at his words:
his sudden appearance unexpected like
a skull in the gloom - yet his grin is real,
a supportive smile that signals trust.
a few more hours. We need to work -
The Lord will forgive those who toil!"