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Deathly Detachment

You doubt this tale told to me long ago?
But wait! I heard it from their very lips.
Cruel circumstance may bring the noble low;
It’s bloody war sometimes the balance tips.

Was rendered then without embellishment;
No hint of sentiment — matter of fact.
No judgement; none had reason to repent;
And words once said, they never would retract.

I write it here as best I can recall.
Three men agreed it was at Butcher’s Flat.
They drove them up against a lethal wall
Of spitting guns, they died, and that was that.

The jungle floor a stinking sea of mud.
Like islands were the bodies of the foe.
The biting tropic sun soon dried the blood.
And where the victors sat no one would know.

Detachment was the normal state of mind;
Exhaustion of the body and the brain.
So seated, on a Spartan meal they dined —
Arose, and left the shambles to the slain.

— D.N. O’Brien