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Civilian and Soldier by Wole Soyinka

Civilian and Soldier 

My apparition rose from the fall of lead, 
Declared, 'I am a civilian.' It only served 
To aggravate your fright. For how could I 
Have risen, a being of this world, in that hour 
Of impartial death! And I thought also: nor is 
Your quarrel of this world. 

You stood still 
For both eternities, and oh I heard the lesson 
Of your traing sessions, cautioning - 
Scorch earth behind you, do not leave 
A dubious neutral to the rear. Reiteration 
Of my civilian quandary, burrowing earth 
From the lead festival of your more eager friends 
Worked the worse on your confusion, and when 
You brought the gun to bear on me, and death 
Twitched me gently in the eye, your plight 
And all of you came clear to me. 

I hope some day 
Intent upon my trade of living, to be checked 
In stride by your apparition in a trench, 
Signalling, I am a soldier. No hesitation then 
But I shall shoot you clean and fair 
With meat and bread, a gourd of wine 
A bunch of breasts from either arm, and that 
Lone question - do you friend, even now, know 
What it is all about?

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