I never really noticed him before.
He was just there--
a tall dark shadow in the ivied hall.
I didn't see his diginity, his gentle air,
the firm determination of his jaw.
He looked like all the rest of them
who lived beyond the track.
I never really noticed him.
His skin was black.
And then, one day, the trumpets blew
and drummers beat
a cadence for our marching feet.
And gray ships sailed across the sea
and cannons roared and shrapnel flew.
And I was there. And so was he.
I never really noticed, then, his skin was black.
We were just two lonely soldiers far from home.
And we could talk and we could walk
down common yesterdays,
And share each others' dreams of days to come.
For he was brave when I was most afraid.
And he would laugh when I could only cry.
When I would curse, he bowed his head and prayed.
When I dared not, he gave me strength to try.
And then, one day, the enemy
charged up our hill
and overran the outpost that we kept.
But just before we reached our line,
his big boot touched a hidden mine;
and while the battle round me raged,
I held him in my arms
Gail M. Brant