I Knew You Would Come by David Ahlman

SLC by Jamie Townsend

I Knew You Would Come by David Ahlman

Two young friends from Iowa
Dreamed of serving their country.
Since they were little they agreed to an oath:
They’d both join the military.
And along with this bond came a certain promise –
One which neither would break:
If either were separated in the flame of battle,
The other would return to save.

In 1918 they turned 15,
Ran from home and enlisted;
Began their journey and accomplish their covenant
To fight for flag fully vested.
It was at their first encounter –
In a deep, damp, dirty trench
Where these teenagers were charged to trudge over
Dead bodies and mustard stench.
Through “No Man’s Land” they made their way
Amidst bomb blasts and rifle fire;
Crouched so low they could barely fit under
Flesh-shredding barbed wire.
“Continue forward!” they were called to obey
With casualties mounting each side.
Signs of fear crept in their hearts,
Leaving them clinging to life.
Ever faithful they pressed past the mist
‘Til only one another each could see,
When a shout sounded against dens of explosions
Calling them to retreat.
Rising from their knees onto their feet,
They sprinted to the safety of the trench.
Intense shooting commenced on their position
As they weaved around deceased to the bench.
With adrenaline high, one friend flew forward
In front of the second at an extremely fast pace,
Leapt through the air into the protection
Of their company’s base.
But upon gathering his shallow breath,
He realized he was sitting alone
And searched through the fortress to find his friend
Who apparently hadn’t made it back home.

The words of his promise and the prayers of his friend
Flooded his troubled mine:
“Aid me! Help me! Rescue me! Save me!
Please, before I die!”
He stood to return to the blackness and the blood,
To the dead and the dying on the field,
To look for his lost friend likely shot
Who might not be too hurt to be healed.
Yet as he stood above the trench
His commander demanded he stay:
“My boy, he’s gone and your life is not worth
Being likewise taken away.”
The young soldier spun to address his leader
And without the slightest scare
Sternly said with tears in his eyes,
“My friend is alive out there!
I must search for him; I must save him;
I must help; I must rescue –
For I took an oath long ago:
‘If you’re ever lost, I’ll come find you.’”

This youth turned to the unforgiving field
Determined to retrieve the downed soldier.
He crawled and clawed slowly through the smoke
Which caused within him a cold shiver.
Edging ever so carefully into the fog,
He became invisible to see
From the sight of his commander and comrades:
‘He’s going to die,’ they believed.

Hours later, assumptions were shattered
As this same lad climbed off the field;
Covered his hair and head in his hands,
Crying uncontrollably as he kneeled.
His commander chose to approach him;
To let him hear his wrath,
“I told you that your friend was gone –
A casualty to the cause of death.”
The young man responded in an anguished voice,
“Sir, I found my friend!
An when I discovered him he was all alone,
Spilling out blood where a shot did rend.
He grabbed my hand, stared in my eyes,
And whilst smiling through red teeth and gums
Spoke these words which prick me still:
‘I knew you would come.’
So Sargent Sir, I stand to say
The risk was worth the reward;
I kept my oath I made long ago:
By bond is now my word.”