Teen Poetry Contest Winner for 2006
Daniel Kanter
Chicagoland Jewish High School, grade 11

Trenches Are Your Home

They dig deeper for the benefit of the trenches
Or is it for the benefit of their graves
Among the mud, they stood fearless
Or maybe dropped face down, their bodies lifeless
Stuck in the trenches where life seems grim
Where even death moans for rest, scattered bodies missing limbs
Where the existence of peace is absent, children running in the streets, fatherless

Produce your weapons and explosives
Distribute your violence, gasses corrosive
The industrial revolution started it all
While innocent lives in Europe begin to fall

Now that same child is running, tripping over bodies of 16 year old boys
While machineguns cough behind him, a deafening noise
Spitting up the gasses he chocked on, it fills his lungs
He can’t help but think no one will miss him when he’s gone
And crying for Mommy, sleeping back at home
Realization passes through going 50 down a one way in the young man’s mind
Its way too late to turn around, because he has just been pulled over
He takes the man down town into no man’s land
Not really to be questioned, but to shoot off his right hand
And he no longer can stand on the muddy ground which will probably be his grave
So he collapses, hoping to pass for just a body waiting to be saved
And taken away for a proper burial
But then you see him. His head awkwardly turned in your direction
This alone is enough to take over the light shining through the smoke
And you run out to save him, seemingly lifeless, only to be shot down

The story of just a boy seems unique
Only many like it occurred as well
You can’t help but think who these bodies would have been
If only the chose not to sign up, if there was no war to win