Imagine that you are a soldier in either World War One or the Crimean War. Write a monologue explaining your thoughts and feelings about the war or an experience of war.
Once on a dark winter’s day, when the yellow fog hung so thick and heavily in the streets of London, lamps were lit and shop windows blazed with gas as they do at night. I was sitting in a cab and driven rather slowly through the big thoroughfares, starring out of the window at the passing people with deep thoughtfulness, dreaming and thinking odd things.
I saw five children playing and running about on the street. They were the kind of children who ought to be related to angels. All of them had rosy cheeks and were all so charmingly pretty and sweet that I dare not deny that when I saw their young bodies whiz around like butterflies, and heard their innocent laughter, a big smile appeared on my wrinkly face which made me forget all about the past.
Suddenly one of the children fell and scraped his knee. I could hear the snivelling from behind the window; I felt myself burn up inside. Another child, who must have been a very close friend of the child, ran and helped him up and patted him. Then he took something out of his pocket, it turned out to be a bon-bon, and he gave it to the injured child. At that moment I remembered my best friend. A great big tear formed in my rheumy eyes, rolled down the bridge of my nose and dropped off at the end of it. I took out my handkerchief and boldly hid my face in it. I started to retrospect:
My best friend was called Charlie; he died when he was still young, in fact, just fifteen. We were both of us soldiers of the First World War and were both forced to join the army and fight for our country.
Living conditions in trenches were appalling. We endured food shortages, lice and rats, attacks of poison gas, cold and damp, and the constant stench of dead troops who could not be moved quickly. Heavy rainfall turned the trenches into quagmires through which we had to wade up to our knees while performing our duties and through which we could feel the water soak through our damaged shoes. No one sympathised with us; we were treated as machines and not as humans. We missed our families and longed for the merry life in England. I always remembered my family and how we all used to sit around the fire to warm ourselves up when it was cold, I was sure then that it was not the fire that gave me the warmth but them with their love and affection.
Charlie was troubled at all times, and I cannot say that he didn’t have the right to do so. He had left a sick mother and five younger sisters behind in England, so how could I expect him not to be troubled, how could his sick mother and five sisters provide food and medicine for themselves now that the only man of the family had gone, gone forever. Yes, Charlie had gone forever, because he actually died in war. Several powerful guns fired by a tank hit him. He was bleeding. I hurried to help him I felt lonely, my best friend was struggling at the borders of death and I felt as though the crowds of soldiers I hurried past made my loneliness greater. I was running as fast as I could towards Charlie, my hands reaching out for him, but I got knocked down on my way and wounded by flying debris hitting my leg. I forced my way up from the ground; I had to help my friend. Limping like a cripple I managed to get hold of Charlie and get him into the shelter, but Charlie was already dead. I felt a deep wound in my heart; my child’s breast could not hold the sudden catastrophe. I sat in the shelter for ages crying; nobody noticed that I was wounded until the end of the battle.
After that I was carried to the hospital where I had my limb cut off, which didn’t seem to me worse than loosing my best friend and friend of childhood.
I returned to England five weeks later, but it was a difficult homecoming. People told be about the tragic deaths of a lot of families including mine, so I felt I should be a lonely fellow when, on my return to my village, I should go in to our house knowing that I need not expect to see the members of my family, in their best mood, come forward to meet me.
Years went and I was still searching for some one or something that could remunerate me of the loss of my family and friends. At last I found it. It was the Church.
“Here we are sir, it is the Church”, I heard someone say. It was the driver; he awakened me from my dreams and thinking of the past. I removed the wet handkerchief from my face, and because of the constant rubbing of my eyes they now appeared red. I dried the last tear that had forced its way out of my eyelid and then the driver lifted me out of the cab and into my wheelchair, which he then led towards the church. He opened the doors of the church, and we got in and sat on a bench. Then I picked up the prayer book and started to read:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I have really let the things that are going on around me affect me in a negative way. It seems as if all peace that I once had has just vanished from me. I must admit that I have given these areas of my life precedence over Your Word. I’ve been speaking negatively rather than speaking what Your Word says. Lord, I am sorry and I ask for Your forgiveness.
Lord, You said that You would give strength to Your people and would bless them with peace. You also said that they would live in peaceable habitation, in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. That is exactly what I need right now. I need Your peace that passes all understanding. I need Your peace that remains no matter what the circumstances are around me. I need Your peace to rule in my heart.
I thank You for Your Son Jesus Christ, Who is the Prince of Peace. I thank You for giving Him to me; the very peace that I need. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN! “
After the prayer I felt the wound in my heart seal again, the one that had been open at the sight of the child helping his friend. The child who reminded me of myself when I tried to help Charlie. I thanked God many times for his peace, which he made rule my heart and then I went home hoping that it would stay there forever and never let the wound open again, because I have lost enough blood.