Onward Soldiers… Christian?

Into the Levant
And for what?
Coasts of Lebanon
To our right
The driest of lands at the left
And Jerusalem weeks away.
Our standard is dusty.
The horses chafe.
And every item of attire
Abuses us in this heat.
No reason yet for weapons
The heavy weapons.
Water bottles prove
Our main salvation.
How different
Everything seemed
When the Bishop visited Milan
And excitement, colour
And music beautified the square.
Pressed us with images
Of sacred things
In the hands of
The Christ-less.
Is that their fault?
Did they choose
To be born there?
Had anything else
Ever stirred the pulse
Like Allah?
We have drills
Dusty, choking drills
Keeping fighting routines sharp.
But the dysentery wears at us.
And Islam sits, prays
Waits comfortably
For our shaky appearance.
The blood, the shrieks
The fire and tumult
Haunt our dreams.
Can this really be
A chosen venture
For the glory and recompense
Of our gentle Storyteller
Of Galilee?
Was the Bishop wrong?
His motives pure?
The shop and family
Are so far away.

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