Photo of a mushroom cloud

The Blackbird

This is a poem I wrote as a young soldier 28 years ago while serving in the British Army. It’s not quite on the theme of mental health, but it represents the emotional impact that training had on me.

There it goes again: bang.
The blackbird killed.  In bloody war
there is no innocence, just death.

The wind is up.
Death grows. The heat is dancing
to the devil’s tune of screaming lungs

The dust settles, creeping, searching
moulding. Flesh is burning, melting
corroding. Pain is long forgotten.

Death is alive. Darkness
is the king. Time ticks on and on
to nothing, from nothing, going nowhere.

Photo of military cemetery

8 thoughts on “The Blackbird”

  1. Most people don’t know the impact serving in the military has on one. On the one hand it is a great vehicle to get a hold on one’s life, to get it together. And on the other hand, it tears apart everything we believe about the sanctity of life. It is the ultimate dichotomy. Your poem reflects this enigma. Was your time in the service, merely “training” or did you also serve under fire?


    1. Hi Eric, thank you for your comments. I did serve under fire in other locations, but this particular poem was written when I was serving on the NATO front line during the Cold War. I was on ‘Border Patrol’ of our section of the Iron Curtain. We spent about 9 months of the year just training for the eventuality of a nuclear attack. I was 20 at the time.
      I agree with you; my time in the military moulded me into a responsible, capable person. But, I had a respect of all life, human and animal; all of which would be destroyed by war.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Shirley, for your service. Your time was more effectual than mine, I was just served during peace time and patrolled our oceans. Nothing daring, but still we had to be on our toes. If we could only rid humanity of the greed and selfishness then there would be no need for war.

        Liked by 1 person

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