Artillery Hell

Fog drapes the meadows as a thick blanket,
In the darkness before day’s bid for light,
Peacefulness lay upon the fields and trees,
Punctuated by sounds of thousands stirring.
For during the night, two armies converge,
Waiting for day’s first light to pounce,
Lines are formed and orders given,
Horses stamp impatiently, harnesses jingle.
Dawn’s gray light seeps from the horizon,
Creating a ghostly hue throughout the fog,
Banners unfurl, sights are checked,
Lanyards tighten….<yank>
Thunder – lightning explodes.

Smoke billows from the guns, thickening the fog,
Case shell and solid rain on distant targets,
Reload, each man at his station,
Distance – fuse length, site checked again.
Battery fire by section, guns roar,
Quickly the order is given to load once more,
Can it be done a third before counterfire,
Distant rumbles are heard, answer is given.
Some fall short, most fly over – fuse trails glowing eerily,
Two find targets exploding with a vengeance,
Gun # 2 and gun # 3, caught while reloading,
Loud concussion – ball of fire – billowing smoke,
Men are hurt – horses down.

# 1 and # 4 roar in defiance, # 3 follows shortly,
# 2, now short of crew, slow but fighting still,
Horses cut from harnesses, delivered from misery,
Wounded men tended as best can.
Distant drums and bugles sound at last,
Into the fog, the infantry does advance,
Toward a cornfield, standing tall and thick,
Soon to be trodden in the Miller field.
This scene among the guns repeated all day,
Batteries of four – batteries of six,
Dealing metal thunder and fiery lightning,
Taking as much as they gave, maybe more.

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