The village priest of Waterloo in Belgium is searching the battlefield for soldiers who were still alive after the day long battle. Many thousands lay dead around him. His verger holds a torch as they search. These are his horrified and sad thoughts.
My verger holds the blazing torch,
I hear his sobs.
I search for those still living, and pray
for those contorted in deaths embrace.
As if sleeping,
brother with brother,
French, English, German, Dutch,
all hatred gone.
Just the silence of the night,
no clash of steel,
no canons roar,
no musket din, or scream of pain.
I had watched the slaughter,
from the church tower.
Thousands of mothers' sons,
oh, so thick upon the ground.
A black-hooded figure rises up.
One of my villagers,
stealing from the dead,
a look of madness upon his face.
A small axe half-hidden,
the other hand holding dead soldiers rings.
I see other torches,
rushing from body to body.
My own people, the staring look in their eye's frightening.
As if demented, like rats scurrying in the darkness.
Imbecilic sounds of laughter.
Who do I say a prayer for?