The Storm

The storm comes shrieking,
Screaming, tearing
At the fortress
Stone by stone.
Within the churning
Surf of bloody mud
Around its base
The lethal spray
Of shrapnel
Renders flesh from bone.

The nation holds its breath
Because defeat
Would mean the death
Of France
They know my fortress
Is the key:
“If I should fall, then France herself
Will surely fall.”

And so the flower of Ile de France,
Of Limousin, of Burgundy
Of Brittany and the Loire
Clings grimly on,
As all the arts and sciences of war
Gas, high-explosive shell, and flame
Are hurled against
The ramparts by the Hun.
Christ! How we suffer,
How we bleed,
But still I stand,
I am Verdun.

© Richard Lindsay 2015