What do you say? – by Roslyn Thomson

What do you say to a dying mate?

As you sit and hold his hand?

What do you say to ease the pain?

That you know is so hard to stand


What do you say to the anguish you see

In his eyes that are washed with pain

What do you say when no words will suffice

When you know all is in vain


You fought through the days full of horror and strife

In the desert and the jungle green

But now that he’s dying what do you say

What does his life really mean?


He’s only a young man, still in his prime

He has hardly begun to live

But now it’s all over, and what do you say

When there is only his life left to give


He’s been your mate since you first joined up

Through the good times and the bad

But now you sit and hold his hand

And know that your days will be sad


For what do you say to a dying mate

When you know his time is short

When the flame, once bright, is now slowly dulled

Do you remember how well he fought?


You remember how he saved your life

How he was always there at your side

You remember his words, “I’m here mate.”

You’ll remember him with pride


An enemy bullet brought him down

And now you must say “Goodbye.”

But what do you say to your best mate

As you sit and watch him die


Roslyn Thomson


  1. A life time of friendship put in to a poem moving beyond words.

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