Poems >> Poems of Valour and Sorrow >> Sound of War

Sound of War

Lt. Col. A.K. ‘Sam’ Sharma

“This one is about what is known amongst the army fraternity as ‘the poor bloody infantry (PBI), that always has been required to close in with the enemy for close quarter battle of hand to hand combat, during the assault stage of attack operation of war; and suffer many casualties This battle-ballad is based on actual experience of war in the Naoshera sector of Rajouri, in 1965”

The hiss of the turned-on wireless,

and the crackle of radio-telephony;

the swish of the high-velocity bullets,

as they crack, then


with dull thuds;

sounding almost like mortar duds;

on the trunks of trees,

their stems, and

their billowing canopies over-head


of pain

of the half-living, the wounded,

and the limbless

The opaque silence

of the H-hour,

and the dreams of the very dead

The sighs of relief of the still full-bodied


the grotesque and the gnarled corpses,

rotting: the sweet stench

amidst the pocked blast-pits of the cunningly

camouflaged M-16s;

trip-wired, primed, and ready to jump,

in the mixed protective mine fields ahead

The war-cries of the poor bloody Infantry;

as they go over the hill;

for the close-quarter-battle,

and probably an RV with the apocalyptic-horseman,

riding shame-faced-ly,

amongst the trodden, fallen and the most-irreversibly dead;

with clanging-tank, now generally hull-down, spitting

tracer and shot in the morale-boosting role

and the gunners out of contact with their guns

they charge the cowering enemy,

by now, shuddering, quivering;

the chattering of their teeth quite distinctly audible

despite their low-decible wave-length,

over the staccato din;

and the stuttering of the Brownings, the Mag-58s, the SPMGs, and

the light machine guns


in the bunkers;

And, in the far distance

in the war-weary various B-echelons

the sound of muffled drums

and bugles too far away

far away

synthesising the later-than-last lullaby,

for the lads laid out slumbering,

snoring to the cosmic rhythm

ensconced with-out the fourth dimension,

in time-capsules,

for ever and for ever

Further in the rear,

the motley crowd of

ragged relatives, friends, buddies


unshaven, semi-literate priests, chant the last rites

like half-awake Zombies;

also whimper and snivel,

with the constant low wails of veiled war-widows,

having toddlers at the breast

The sounds of war resonate through the cosmos,


both in the audio,

and video,

on the hard disk

of my heart,

and my dull throbbing head

Lt. Col A.K. ‘Sam’ Sharma

Sam Sharma is 4/3 Gorkha Officers, who was the original Bronco. This poem, as well as Buzzard Feast are based on exploits of the broncos in the 1965 war with Pakistan; actually a raid on a Pakistani post, on the Line of Control. He is a regular visitor to the site and a great supporter.