Phil Howard


Him? He got posted to Kandahar,

Didn't know what action he'd see,

Out on patrol in an armoured car;

Got taken out by an IED.

That one? He was a Red Army man;

Conscripted, sent down Helmand way;

Unit ambushed by the Taliban;

Sniper's bullet shortened his day.

And in 1880 in the sand,

Those hundreds dead? No mystery:

The British fallen at Maiwand.

How circular is history.

Alternative Histories

I slept my way to Hell last night,

I was in the trenches, on patrol,

Bathed in a flare's implacable light,

Perhaps I found a spacetime hole

Into a parallel universe,

One that was infinitely worse.

It's happened several times before:

A glimpse of another world so clear,

The sensation of being sure

I could touch it, it feels so near,

So palpable, so very strong.

You think you understand? You're wrong.

Phil Howard © 2011