The Burning Soldier (5) “Silent Warrior “

Posted on June 21, 2011

with thanks to Enigma ” Silent Warrior “

The Burning Soldier


I lie awake, and stare at the ceiling.
The fan turns slowly, brushing soft air soothingly over my aching mind. In the early morning silence, I can hear my heart beat.

I think of the Past, the Present, the Future.
Quantum mechanics. Einstein’s theory of Relativity. The enormous Time Horizons of the Universe, and the Absurdity of Man, who thinks – hilariously – that he actually matters. In terms of Matter and Time.

Time morphs, reverses on itself, and I am a small child once more, running down a tunnel at the speed of light, towards the comfort of my mother’s ever ready arms. How I love my mother. She is the center of my Universe. There is calm. Before the storm. Before the Black Hole.

Time morphs, reverses on itself, and the hate in his eyes is unmistakable. He is going to attack me. He wishes to hurt me, maybe even kill me. We fight, trade vicious blows, and roll around the ground. I get him in a headlock, a hand in his hair, and proceed to bounce his face off the ground a few times. That slows him down. I feel a savage satisfaction. He tries to escape, but I am not letting go. Amidst the struggle, the heaving and the grunting, the stale smell of his body, I whisper in his ear.
“Stay for a while, I’m just getting going…”
My own hate shocks me. But only Afterwards.

I dream of Freedom…

Time morphs, reverses on itself, and I argue vehemently that indiscriminate pub bombings are an own goal. The act of a madman. A travesty of everything that raises humanity above the level of the Beast. I tell them flat out it is the height of cowardice, the weapon of a snake, and guaranteed only to spin the cycle of tit-for-tat violence further out of control. I can see from their eyes they hold me in contempt. In their sectarian hatred, palpable, I sense the certain future death of more innocent strangers. I continue, unwisely, aware that the bar has gone ominously silent. Then, suddenly, I feel a hard coldness. Steel has entered my heart. I discover that I wish to kill. Exterminate. Slowly, and methodically. I look at them, and my feelings show. Through the smoke filled bar, the intensity of my anger has registered. There is a shuffling in the corner. A man stands up, a stranger. After he speaks, you can hear a pin drop. He says, simply:
“The man is right. Listen to him…”

I smile, grimly. What the hell. Now we are both dead.

I dream of Freedom…

I read about Hitler’s concentration camps. Auschwitz. The burning of the Jews, and many others. I think about how easily Man can follow the Beast. Cultured people, educated, successful, are exterminated. Artistic, sensitive, feeling people, are systematically brutalized and lowered. They are murdered, and their bodies burnt. Discarded. Like trash. The smoke from the chimneys, beaten down by approaching, dark thunder clouds, creeps steadily towards the unyielding razor wire. The stakes, and the barbs, the mine fields and gun towers.

I dream of Freedom…

One night, during a long argument about Irish History, past, present and future, he points a gun in my face. At one stage he presses it hard into my cheek. I remember staring along the top of the barrel, right back in his eyes. I remember thinking I was going to die. And not caring. I stared right back into the depths of hate. And dared him to pull the trigger… In the end, he just laughed, and pointed the weapon upwards. Then he shot the ceiling. I remember bits of plaster falling around my head, and I remember never taking my eyes off him. A piece fell in my beer, and I cursed him loudly. “Now see what you’ve done, you fuk’n eejit…!”
And then we laughed, and laughed, and got very drunk…

Time morphs, reverses on itself, and I hear the news.
“Seamus is dead. The Brits got him.” A night raid in South Armagh, gone wrong. I say nothing, and feel only a cold emptiness. I think of the long arguments, lasting all night, and the fists slamming on the table. I think of the guns, the bombs, the deaths, and the hatred. I loved him as a brother, but I’m also relieved that he is finally dead. His violence is blind. There is no reasoning with him, no compassion, no humanity. They buried him at midnight, in the small cemetery in Dundalk. Then they fired a volley of shots over the grave, and woke the whole town up. I think of his beautiful, gentle girlfriend, and I wonder how she is taking it.

I dream of Freedom…

I learn, the hard way, I can’t trust anybody. My back hurts. It has been stabbed so many times. I learn that my biggest failing is to attribute values I cherish to others. Big mistake.

I dream of Freedom…

They teach me how to shoot. And how to inflict pain. I discover I am good at it. It is a clinical science. I can turn on the surgical mask easily enough. But can I switch it off? No. Maybe I enjoy it too much now. For I am all too human.

I lie awake, and stare at the ceiling. The fan turns slowly, brushing soft air soothingly over my aching mind. In the early morning silence, I can hear my heart beat. I think of the Past, the Present, the Future. Einstein. Quantum Mechanics. Time. Bending, in a curve, the End foreseeable from the Beginning. How I long for Understanding. And to stand at the curve in the bend of Time, and be able to see either End. I long for it.

My Freedom.

To achieve what I desire the most.
To rise into Awareness. To rise up into the skies, and drift slowly along, wisely, knowingly, like the laden smoke from the burning furnaces of Auschwitz.
Curling, effortlessly. Unstoppable.
Sailing. Patiently. Over, around, and through.

The razor wire…

Francis Meyrick


Last edited by Francis Meyrick on January 8, 2014, 6:44 am

0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.

2 responses to The Burning Soldier (5) “Silent Warrior “

  1. Another gem, Francis. History is bunkum – the past and future are one, or will be one day. Today’s freedom fighter is tomorrow’s murderer. A man who is prepared to strike a match and light a fire for his country has to be prepared to suffer eternity in Hell for burning people out of house and home. It happened again last night in Belfast, like thirty years ago, like thirty years hence. When push comes to shove, we’re all what God made us to be – feckin’ hard-boiled eejits. Look, you got me thinking……..

  2. Thanks, Kevin.

    It won’t ever stop.  But we have to keep trying, and appeal to compassion.

    For those beyond such entreaties, beyond any reasoning…

    there is such a thing as a line in the sand.  Cross it at your peril.

    First, the hand. Offered in friendship. Sincerely.
    Second, the other hand. Offered in an embrace. With deep caring about our Fellow Man. As witnessed awesomely by Mahatma Ghandi.

    But if the response is the match, the Molotov cocktail, the gun, or the bomb… After that…

    After that, distressingly, you realize your appeals to compassion are only being interpreted as weakness.
    Damn. Now what…

    No choice.  I tried Pacifism, but I had to abandon it after some deeply traumatic experiences, that terminated in extreme, life threatening violence. I ended up reluctantly coming to the conclusion that true Pacifism, however noble in intent, was impractical, and smacked of a sophisticated excuse for cowardice.

    Turn the other cheek..(ouch!)
    Turn the other cheek…(ouch!)
    Turn…. duh…
    Ouch! You just shot me in the arm…, okay, here’s the other arm…
    Ouch!…. duh….
    You just shot my brother…!
    Okay, here’s my other brother…

    I have friends on both sides, relatives on both sides, and I refuse to take either side. My father was born a Protestant, my mother a Catholic.  I am a Seeker. Of Truth, Compassion, caring and forgiving.

    But I believe in the right to self defense.  Violence is the absolute last resort, but it’s naive to think you can talk your way around a thuggish, sectarian bully. From EITHER side.

    PS: my grandfather was chased out of Belfast at the point of a shotgun. For no other reason than that he was a Catholic.

    Ninety-One years ago…

    Sad, isn’t it.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Home   Back to Tile Index