First Blood

He, on the battle line, now stands
With shaking hand and racing heart,
Awaiting there the first commands
That bring this conflict to a start.

Determined that his cause is just
In this strange land across the sea,
He’s loathe to kill, but knows he must
For sake of life and liberty.

He now awaits those fateful words
With fellow comrades, dressed to kill.
In moments now two untamed herds
Will charge and ply their deadly skill.

What enemy will raise its fist
Against this young man’s righteous cause?
Who’s waiting in that morning mist
As nearer this engagement draws.

He hears a distant battle cry
Across that barren no man’s land,
And now he rises up to die
As he obeys his last command.

For as he rushes to that call
On trembling legs with heaving breast,
The warriors ‘round him watch him fall
As crimson oozes through his vest.

He feels the tension in the ranks.
He tastes the fear in this gray dawn.
He hears the rumbling of the tanks.
Then in a heartbeat he is gone.

How many of this fellowship
Will never see their battle flags?
How many men will make that trip
Back home zipped up in body bags?

And as his life now slips away
As he lies in that foreign mud,
The Gods of War will note this day
That his, in battle, was first blood.