See them run, pushing the boundaries of their weary bodies.
Smell their toiling sweat.
Watch them suffer.
Somehow they have convinced themselves there is still time. If the messenger is intercepted, they reason, perhaps the inevitability of it all is suspended. Perhaps they, their sons and brothers won’t have to enlist in an unwinnable war. Perhaps their families won’t starve from hunger this winter.
Have they not noticed the machinery is already turning? Do they not understand that wars are not started or avoided by scraps of paper but by pieces on a politician’s chess board and that the sacrificing of pawns has already begun?
Surely they can hear the thunder of the cannons behind the hills, they can see the black smoke rising? Or do they simply block out the impending conflict? Do they cling to fantasy, rather than acknowledge the reality of war?
See them run, still.
Watch how they delude themselves with visions of peace.