Martin Bennett

Tank Crew’s Lament

They said, ‘This, lads, is training exercise.’
How come it has lasted 25 and a half days,
all of our ammunition is live?

They told us, ‘You’re on a peace operation.’
How come, komandir, these guns, those grenades,
when we make ‘one and the same nation’?

They said, ‘You are here for denazification.’
So why do we target Babyn Yar,
Zaporizhzhia’s power station?

They told us, ‘In no time you’ll reach Kiev;
there’ll be flowers of welcome.’ Then explain
the human chains, road signs repainted ‘Fuck Off.’

They call us ‘heroes, good versus bad.’
Why these directives to fire on women
and kids, someone who could be my grandad?’

We’re told ‘Should you end up wounded or dead,
You (or your family) will get compensated.’
How, in the second case, ‘so as not to spread

panic back home, funerals are suspended
till further notice’? ‘Young conscripts,’ they said,
shall not be sent into action.’ They said…

They said…