Dr. Ricardo B. de los Santos, PhD

The trench is deep and wide
Be hard for the enemy to penetrate,
Would be hard to see where we hide,
And where our ammo concentrate.
Entrenched, enjoy the furlough of war,
Engage only when they come
Meanwhile, there’s no flesh to scar
Just the hours and days to overcome
And will they come? Let Field Marshall
Bring his best troops instead;
Let them be heroes, who indeed shall
Win this war for us or forestall but dead
But we’re entrenched with security;
Let’s keep the day and sleep the night
If they overrun, ket;s run to safety
Instead of dying, keep flight
Or hold white flag to surrender
For it’s the fault of trenches
That we know this war is over
Too much in mind and heart is enough stress!

– Karam M. Zingh

I will try to analyze this short poem in order to glean some lessons on or at least some points to ponder on its topic which is being a soldier assigned in a trench. For starters, one can determine the difference between a trench and a foxhole. A soldier in the foxhole has a more dynamic situation because he can mobilize anytime in accordance with the battle. But someone entrenched has a more stationary stance, and his being assigned in a trench presumably needs a longer time to stay.

In pre-modern days, trenches were usually used in conventional warfare and even in the two world wars where they were proven less reliable. Trenches are usually temporary demarcations of territoriality and they’re being overrun is a negative indicator of the results of battle.

But in the poem above, the attitude of the warrior is seriously lacking the esprit de corps. The soldier seems to be in an imagined vacation and his only way is the use of time. He also does not have the proper attitude of a zealous warrior but instead relies on others to with to win the war for them.

In fact, he intends to desert the line if it becomes dangerous and is even contemplating on surrender rather than endanger himself. And for all these he puts the blame on the trenches for its being overrun is an indication that the cause of war is lost, and he does not want even this kind of stress.

The author’s sarcasm is biting on those who are real fence-sitters. who during the time of conflict are ready to switch sides rather than be imperiled.

As being entrenched pertains to regular soldiers, this regular soldier must be suffering from the lack of motivation such as not being a real patriot, or he was simply powerless and unwilling when he was drafted. Moreover, his attitude shows lack of training and a false sense of security. He seems not to know how a deserter could suffer from the gun of his officer or simply ignores this to choose gambling his safety to the kindness of his enemy.

In a spiritual war those who are entrenched in pragmatism and modernism petrify in their entrenched different defenses. They are easy prey to any spiritual attack because they do not have the real faith. Either they are too worried about personal safety or are too cowardly to posture one’s self as a soldier. Too much mind for a soldier equals too much worry and this not faith but fake. Too much heart for a soldier is too much emotion and this is not faith but fake.

Even on the reverse side of things, too much mind or heart is not beneficial for a soldier designated in a trench. Too much worry might cause him to peep out of his trench and be an easy target. Too much heroic feeling may bring about the same result.

It is best for a soldier localized in the trench to await word of his unit officer from the local chain of command. And of course, he must have discernment. How else could he discriminate between his brothers in arms and the enemy if the latter has penetrated the trench? If he going to shoot a fellow soldier, especially of his own trench, just to feel good and secure?

Capt. Ricardo B de los Santos
Commandant CROSS

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