Newfoundland might as well be as far away as the moon,
Private Leaf mused in November 1916, his fifth and the
Battle Somme's final month of belligerent clashing in France.
Leaf, Cork, and Sgt. Heath, sole survivors of Cheshire Company.
"We have dawn patrol men, along with the South Africans lads,"
Heath whispered in the muck ridden trench. Leaf only heard
Whispers since July's seven day bombardment of 1.7 million shells,
All shouting at first, then diminishing till last day thump thumps.
Dawn drizzled gray blood landscapes in the men's war brains.
One hundred meter forward observation trench the goal,
Observe any enemy movements until relieved by evening squad.
This day an AEG bomber blocked them, forced a tank into their trench.
Sgt. Heath rallied his men to topside, running around the hopelessly
Mired tank crew, some cursing General Haig, others praying to the same
God as the German pilot, seeking Divine Guidance for the bomb drop.
The Cheshire's all stopped and drew down on the German pilot-BOOM.
Leaf was blown back to safety, shielded by Heath's limbless body.
Heroism hounds caught scent of a feel good story and the trenches
Were reminiscent of ant hill cross-sections of activity the next day.
General Haig never visited Somme, dispatched Aid-de-Camp Audrey.
Leaf, not bearing any wound other than a sore backside from his landing
On a rain tarp over the hospital trench section, gained Colonel rank,
Heath's candy bars and Cork's wine, and new orders from General Haig,
Directing him to the rear for logistics planning, the place for real heroes.