Annabel Parkinson, Grade 6, Perth College
Death is so close, yet so far. You can embrace it but can’t touch it. Out here on the Somme, no matter your rank, kindness or courage, death still wants to snatch you. It wants to humiliate you, to shove you and laugh at you.
Blood hangs in the air, thicker than water.
Hundreds of thousands of condemned young men, hearts pure, heads high, dancing to their death. There is no future, to live in the moment is your only hope. No matter the flag you fly, the clothes you wear, the colour of your skin, the end just wants to devour you. Whizzing balls of fate come so close to ending you, to succeed in taking you. Sweat, dirt and dust, create an unforgettable aroma of blood, of suffering and ends.
Back home we had no idea of hell, just fake fantasies of demons and fire and hate, into which only the evil descend. We were stupid. So very very stupid. We have been to hell, rested in hell and embraced it. Soon the entire population of young men would reside there, unless the blood-stained leaders of the countries came to some agreement. How come their choices affect hundreds of millions of lives, thousands of futures, hundreds of drops of blood? Why do they get to act as if war is a game? Why do they think, that you can always hit the restart button, that the casualties are just lost points that you can regain with a click of a finger?
If you have not dived deep into the life of an army, smelt the blood, tasted the suffering, you cannot truly appreciate how lucky you are to be free to not have to risk your life for someone, to be ranked on your courage, not your skill or kindness, to have your friends dropping like flies, to know that it could be you.
Death shall come.
And you can’t escape it.