By Mica Pointer
November 8th, 1918
My dear Uncle Bambrose,
We thought this was going to be a war of honor. We thought that we would come raging in like Henry V against his foes at Agincourt, raging with a fire of victory in the face of our enemies. But oh, how quickly glory fades. The rosy faces of the youths that so lately clambered onto the trains headed for the front lines are now pale and rocked with terror. Where excited voices once called out “God for England and Saint George” now change to endlessly chant the darkened moans of pain which before seemed fitting only for those mourning at a funeral. The dreams of glittering uniform and shining metals have been tarnished by the brutality of machine guns and torn to shreds beneath layer upon layer of bandages. The other nurses and I fight vainly to heal their wounds, as Sisyphus did to overcome his impossible task, knowing all the while that the most deadly of injuries cannot be touched by human hands. Their eyes roll dimly about in their heads, either numbed with shock or blinded by the mustard gas, covering their eyes with a grey haze as though death itself were laying its veil upon them. A blessing; So that they may not see the horrors met by others on the battle field, and oh such horrors I tell you! Whole limbs ripped from their owners. Great quantities of entrails spill from corpses blasted in two from shelling and faces burned into hideously unrecognizable forms with each tendon standing out on its own peeling back coagulated masses where perhaps ears, noses or maybe even the dark hallow of where an eye used to be.
I will never understand why men find it necessary to reinvent death, for never before did it come with such variety, such complexity. Guns gave people the power to kill, and now they are given the power to destroy. Not just destruction by land, but destruction by the air, by the sea; is there no place that does not stand as death’s threshold? And from these, man has become a coward. War is no longer about meeting your enemy to face them head-on, now men hide themselves behind mechanized creatures of war. Tanks, airplanes, Undersea Boats; has technology become a battlefield itself? Sometimes I fear that if our men do not die out there by the hands of the Germans then they will die by the hands of our surgeons. What a cruel irony it is to have the saviors be the executioners!
Sometimes I think that death may take me as well. If I am to die, do not let me die like these cowards who crouch in terror from behind the trenches. Let me die like Achilles against the Trojans, let me die like Leonidas facing the Persians or the Light brigade at the hand of the Russians. To them goes the honor not because of how they died, but why they died. They died for honor. Their honor allowed them to charge strait into the jaws of death and greet it by the hand, unafraid in knowing that their cause was right. Let me die like them. Let me die with honor; the last of my kind to do so.
With my sincerest hopes of reunion,
May God be wi…
*The letter of Head Nurse Arthur Foxworthy was never finished. Their trenches were charged by the opposing German forces and according to army records, his body was never found.
Being a native of Spokane, Washington, Mica Pointer is no stranger to gaining inspiration from nature’s bounties and the assets of history. As a first time writer, he hopes to combine these interests as he attempts to gain competence in short stories and poetry. For now, he is content to reside with his family, being endlessly entertained by a myriad of animals including the cursed squirrels that terrorize his poor tulips.