The Grey Ghost: A Poem

The Grey Ghost

I see him, grey and silent

Creeping like a ghost

He’s proud, like an island

And that’s what I admire most–

That he is strong, though an enemy

He lives the same as me

Fate pits him against me

If not for that, I’m same as he.

But here is fate, and so

I raise my gun and peer

Towards the grey ghost in the snow

Without angst or fear.

The case of brass is in my hands,

As soon his life shall be

With the solemnity the job demands

I slowly count to three.

My shot rings out like thunder

Its aim true and perfect

He falls at once, and I wonder

If he even heard it.

I go to inspect my trophy

He’s a fine one, to be sure

I add another German to my tally

And begin my search for more.


I wrote this poem last week, after pondering how Vasily Zaitsev (one of the Soviet Union’s most prolific and talented snipers) was a successful hunter before his wartime service. The Grey Ghost compares the experience of a sniper to a simple wolf-hunt; in doing this, it strives to illustrate the detachment and irony which often stem from war.


2 thoughts on “The Grey Ghost: A Poem

  1. Great analogy Adair. You very clearly illustrate the similarities between the two antagonists. How easily it could have been the other way around. Your poem also effectively shows the detachment that must be felt by snipers. In closing, I have to say that I did not like your poem, but I really liked how it showed the cruel reality of war.

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