Into the valley of death…..

When I first came across the poem, “Charge of the light brigade”, which Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote as a narrative describing the charge of the British Calvary against the Russian forces during the battle of Balaclava on 25th October, 1854, in the Crimean war, the phrase that caught my attention was “Into the valley of death, rode the 600″….


Jumobi was so excited she could swear she didn’t sleep a wink through the night. It was barely 5.00am and she was up and about happily humming to the tunes of Celine Dion’s “Power of love”. Her husband of 2 years who she hadn’t even spent a cumulative 6 months with after the wedding was coming home having been posted to the Northern part of Nigeria as part of the effort to fight the growing insurgency in that region. Her joy was irrepressible, all the nail biting, hair pulling, heart in stomach and tears streaming down the face moments each time there was news of a military base attack or invasion of any village in the region would be over, albeit momentarily. All the same, she was grateful.

She went about cleaning the house, making sure everything was spotless and in order for Tayo’s arrival. She could hardly wait to feel his touch again, to have him close to her just to get a whiff of his scent, to have him whisper sweet nothings to her , to have the arms of her husband around her again as she sleeps through the night, to kiss away his nightmares as he wakes up sweating from horrors untold and to feel that glorious moment of waking up with her breathing gently down his neck. Just thinking about it made her wish she had supernatural powers so she could fast forward the hands of the clock.

Not having him with her physically made her remember things about him. Things like meeting him for the first time, how shy he was when he finally asked her to dinner or rather made his friend ask her on his behalf, when he attempted to kiss her for the first time with both of them not really knowing what to expect, when he dropped down on one knee in front of her family and friends on her 27th birthday to propose, the publicity of it all stunning them both and when he finally looked into her eyes on that beautiful Saturday morning and said I do.

She prepared his favorite meal, bought his bottle of favorite wine, after all it must be providence that he was returning a day shy of his 31st birthday, so it wouldn’t be so bad if they started the celebration a little early. She wouldn’t have minded meeting him at the airport she thought, but Tayo said the army already dispatched a vehicle to come get him so she should just concentrate on making herself sexy for him when they spoke the previous day. Recalling that conversation made her rush into the bathroom to get ready with a fervor that could only be attributed to months and months of being away from a loved one.

She ran a bath for herself, used her best scenting bath gel, laid languidly in the tub and allowed herself the luxury of a bubble bath. After getting out, she dried herself up, put on an Atelier versace LBD she got earlier in the day from one of those pricy stores on the island, took her time with her make-up, dabbed a little of the Chanel No. 5 Tayo got her the last time they were together. When she looked in the mirror, she saw drop-dead-gorgeous not just sexy. As she was slipping into her shoes, she heard the doorbell chime, she couldn’t stop the acceleration of her heartbeat, as she gave herself a confident wink and sashayed to the front door to meet her knight in shiny armor.

soldier 2

When Jumobi opened the door expecting to once again stare into the dreamy eyes of her husband, she was instead staring at four soldiers who had this solemn look on their faces which she didn’t need a soothsayer to interpret…..

…… “Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
“Charge for the guns!” he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Someone had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre stroke
Shatter’d and sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made,
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred.

…….read Jumobi at her husband’s funeral with a voice so shaky and face so tear stained that one can’t help but ask if the valor with which our soldiers are bravely carrying out their orders regardless of insurmountable odds is actually worth it. Regardless of the reality, we appreciate their courage and their bravery and for those who have lost their lives in the process, we hope the sacrifice would come to mean something someday.


6 thoughts on “Into the valley of death…..

  1. That was touching..reminds me of Tiwa Savage’s video. Honestly, we really need to commend the works of these force men that defend our territories with their lives. They should rather be celebrated… more than the little attention we give to them.

  2. It quite unfortunate that we do not or have not in any way shown any real concern or appreciation for our fallen soldiers, we only appreciate them on armed forces day… me sef I follow

  3. Is it really worth it, being a soldier, going to wars, while d ogas enjoy n fly their kids round d world…..being inlove…. Everything usually end on sad notes……. Guess all sums up to LIFE.
    Nice but Sad one! Cheers!

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