𝐁𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐀𝐫𝐦𝐬
Dark and grim, as winter’s chill
Creeps through the barracks, cold and still,
Where in a dreary dingy room
Four men are gathered in the gloom;
And three, they cast disdainful eyes
Upon the fourth, as he denies
What they see plainly as his guilt;
The evidence of blood he’s spilt —
The scarlet stains upon his clothes,
His swollen hands — his broken nose.
For they have seen each gouge and gash;
Beneath his bed, the stolen cash.
And each has known the man he killed.
And each has known the heart he stilled.
When there’s no question of a doubt,
Swift justice must be carried out.
If not, the killer may walk free;
But judge and jury are the three,
And all are young and wise and strong,
And not a chance their judgement wrong.
And so a gallows is contrived,
Where stands the fighter who’s survived.
His sunken eyes, devoid of hope,
Gaze upward at the hanging rope;
For well he knows, his end is sure —
Condemned by that unwritten law:
That soldiers, since the dawn of time,
Enforce for that unholy crime
Of fratricide by gun or knife —
The taking of a brother’s life.
So the condemned bows to his fate;
For but a second has to wait;
Then crashes on the floor a chair,
And there beneath his feet — but air.
— D.N. O’Brien