£1000 in prizes in our War Poetry for Today competition

Letter to a Soldier from Another Time By Shirani Rajapakse

Would you have believed that rifles



and bayonets would give way to machine



 



guns that rip holes in bodies faster than



it took to load a cannon and fire? Would



 



you have believed that flares lighting the sky,



gas that ate up flesh, turning your sight to water,



 



the stench of rotting, rotting, would one day



be replaced by missiles screaming obscenities



 



through the skies to land in other people’s homes,



in kitchens as they cooked, anywhere,



 



everywhere, turning the children in their wombs



into monsters no one wants to look at? White



 



phosphorous devouring bodies alive like



vultures black as the night. Would you



 



have believed soldiers sitting in trenches shivering



in fear of an enemy to pounce would be replaced



 



by drones, unmanned, firing on targets, anything



that moved, non discriminating it could be the enemy,



 



a child going to school, a woman doing the washing,



an old man walking down the road. Anything and



 



everything that moved. How cruel is the world that



invents misery in the hundreds, how insignificant lives,



 



how selfish is man that he profits from war



fills his coffers from the sale of weapons, destroying



 



lives because he doesn’t like what they say



or do while somewhere in a land he doesn’t care



 



about someone is busy filling graves faster than he



can dig. War is fought not in open battlefields,



 



in pits and trenches like yore but from faraway



places in air conditioned comfort. What would you



 



have said had you known? Would you have



been as appalled as you were then?



see more submissions for the £1000 in prizes in our War Poetry for Today competition click here