It’s a battlefield
The Veteran’s song
(My background is the Winter War of Finland 1939-40 when Soviet attacked – my parents lived it through, but many of their best friends were lost, if not in the war in the aftermath…)
I left my heart out there in ruins
with my friends all gone to pieces,
limbs all shattered, spread around the front
and many never even found
but lost in no man’s land
without a coffin,
while there were too many coffins anyway.
My spirit keeps on wandering out there
with ghosts of absent friends,
whose company I’ll always miss the more
and never leave although it’s gone;
for ghosts of friends will never leave you –
they will keep you company enough for all eternity.
You find them in the bottles,
in the depth of emptied glasses,
in the tears of widowed mothers
and in children who came off without a father,
whom they never shall get any chance to know
although they always keep them present
in romantic fancies of their unknown fates.
To absent friends, my friends!
A cheer, a glass, and bottoms up!
And may they live forever in our souls
to ever stalwartly go marching on
for the eternal quest of manhood, chivalry
and the defense of freedom, independence and democracy!
Very fine picture and presentation of a poem close to your heart, Aurelio. Sadly, could well describe today’s ongoing war too. People lost in war are remembered differently, remain embedded in family memories often in nobler ways than is normally the case aren’t they? For Finland, the Winter War of 1939 was very much a case of the ‘enemy of my enemy is a friend’ as they needed rising Nazi Germany to keep the Soviets occupied elsewhere. A defence of the fatherland as bravely fought as Ukraine today, sadly though, with some loss of territory. Fine rousing poem and dedication!