No Man’s Land

In the sodden mud
of no man’s land
a man is lashed to
a six foot post driven
deep into the soil.
Rope binds his knees
and ankles to the post,
manacles grip his wrists
back behind the post,
his head and shoulders
brace back against it.

Modern day crucifixion.

Field punishment number 1.

Acrid smoke of
artillery fire drifts
beneath lowering clouds,
sniper shots ring out,
a bag of flesh
and bones sags

drunkenly

sideways

downwards

lifeless.

In World War I conscientious objectors were taken
to the western front and roped to posts for up to 
four hours at a time between battle lines:

field punishment number 1.

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No Man’s Land

3 thoughts on “No Man’s Land

    1. It was a horrific thing to d to other humans, but that was the way of thinking back then. We had a TV programme as part of our WW I centenary about one of our famous objectors who had this done to him, and the newspaper review had a photograph of

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It was horrible, but that was the way of that era, I know. We had a TVNZ programme as part of our WW I commemorations about one of our objectors at that time, and the newspaper review included a photograph of one of them trussed up out in no man’s land. It was a stark shock to turn the page and see that. I think the men who let themselves in for that punishment were incredibly brave, though I do think Germany had to be stopped from powering itself over smaller countries. We did better in WW II when our conscientious objectors were sent to work in the medical corps on the battle field, which they seem to have accepted readily They were in the war, but not actually fighting.

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