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Cap Badge Hill, Radfan Mountains ©

Dennis Capper
Victoria, Australia
1985

Anxiety grips you in the gut,
Your hand feels clammy as you stroke the butt,
Sweat runs down your forehead and back,
Streaking the paint on your face fresh-blacked,
Everything is quiet and still,
No sound from the enemy on the hill,
An order comes whispered low,
You leave the start line to attack the foe,
On up the hill keeping spaced,
The night air cracking with tracer-laced,
You see bright flashes and hear loud bangs,
Feel the ground thumping, hear metal clang,
The noise is awful but your fear has gone,
You gasp for breath as you hurry on,
The dawn has come, the top is reached,
You check your weapon, "Still one in the breach!"
The officer calls, "Brew up lads!"
You think to yourself that it wasn't so bad,
Sitting around drinking tea,
Laughing, joking your spirit free,
Temporarily forgotten is the fear you felt,
When your stomach felt sick beneath your belt,
But later on as the years go by,
You think about it and your mouth goes dry,
Your hand and eyes have a nervous tic,
The bile it rises and you want to be sick,
The fear you felt before the attack,
When the sweat ran down your face and back,
You remember then you were not so bold,
As you attacked that hill in the morning cold.


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