Somme Song

Jotterizing

By Vita Forest


Was it because of or despite the shattering shells and the mud and the death? Was it despite or because he didn’t know whether he would ever again see that beloved river, those beloved trees? It could not be examined too deeply, it could not be thought about, but somewhere, inside his head, he was hearing a tune. A rhythm that came from the river, his river. The softly-falling stream, the trailing willow branches, the lazy boyhood days fishing and lying back in a rowboat, face full to the sun.

He heard it through the deafening shells, through the screams, through the steady thrum of rain that pounded dully on the sandbags and turned the ground to a stinking grey slurry.

He heard it when his eyes were closed, when his eyes were open, when he couldn’t sleep, when he couldn’t dare. It was there despite it…

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