A Shell-hole Group (Art.IWM ART 601) image: a battle scarred landscape, with a track passing between blasted trees and debris. An artillery piece is on the ridge to the left and the damaged entrance to a dug-out is to the right. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/12943

by Jac Harmon

You lie on your back, staring up at the sky, an arcing, heart-aching infinity of blue, stretching beyond the limits of your sight, beyond the limits of the mud that sucks and clings, feels its way through the layers of your uniform, slowly, slowly, toward the cold, clammy slickness that is your skin, the skin that has grown with you for eighteen years, that started out soft and pink, caressed beneath your mother’s fingers, kissed by her lips, the skin that toughened and held you together as you rolled and tumbled with your brothers, brothers separated from you now by the vastness of conflict, the vastness of fields of suffocating mud, that once were fields of wheat, that rippled in the wind, and ripened from green to gold under that same arcing, heart-aching infinity of blue, blue like your eyes, which, although still open, now see nothing at all.

Jac Harmon was born in London, and moved to the Hertfordshire countryside when she was four. Her favourite way to relax is with a good gothic novel and a cup of tea. She lives in Cambridge with her husband, and her cat, Willow.

Image: ‘A Shell-hole Group’ by Adrian Hill, paper, watercolour and ink, copyright: © IWM Art.IWM ART 601.