Bugger This For a Game of Soldiers

by Ann Drysdale

The story has it that when the computer wizards fabricated the battle scenes for Lord of the Rings, the Director decreed that each figure should be programmed to act as an individual and, during the first conflict, some of them ran away…

Hiding in the enhanced hills of the antipodes
We are doing not too badly, all things considered.
We have each of us chosen to step outside the picture
And watch it dispassionately, without benefit of popcorn.

We happy few, we voluntary out-takes—
Virtually indestructible, having no substance—
Sought out our several ways into this haven.
Like Legionnaires, we do not discuss our reasons.

We are a small fistful of hand-knitted fictions,
With fellowship programmed digitally into our pixels;
Having been created utterly true to ourselves
We cannot now be false to one another.

And so we fadge, we Orcs, Elves, Wraiths and Rohirrim,
Carousing round the fire in a ring.