Among flickering candles and Sunday prayers, Among dusty trophies and peaceful campfires There lived children of the books, free of wars, But pining in the pettiness of their dramas. Their age and their routines Are always annoying to the kids, And so we fought until bruises And until grave insults. But our mothers always mended Our clothes in time, While we drank the wine of books, Feeling drunk from their words. With our hair stuck to the sweaty foreheads, With our hearts weightless from the phases. Our heads were dizzy from the smell of battlefields That was descending on us from the yellowish pages. And we, who did not know war Those, who mistook dog howl for war cry, We tried to grasp The meaning of the word “order,” The heat of attacks, The clanging of war chariots. And in the boiling pots of old turmoil and wars How much food was there for our little thoughts! And the roles of traitors, cowards, Judas In our childish games we assigned to our childhood foes. There we never let the villains escape, Where we swore to always love to beautiful queens, Where we always protected our friends And loved our neighbors, And where the roles of the heroes We always assigned to ourselves. But no one can hide in the fantasy forever. Childhood time is so short - so much pain outside! Try now for yourself to open the palms of the dead To pick up the weapon from their tired hands. Wrap around your hand around still warm handle, Grasp the price, find how much is the price. Test yourself, whether you are a coward or a man of the fate, And try now the taste of the real war. And when your wounded friend falls right next to you, And when from your first loss you will scream out like mad, When you would suddenly feel as if left without a skin Because it should have been you, and not him, no, not him. Then you will grasp, you will know, You will find, you will see That the grin of the death Is behind the grins of the visors. Do you see how crude is that face? And always beyond it are coffins and crows. But if you had to cut your ways through the battle With your fathers’ sword, Swallowing tears, sweat, and blood And if in the heat of battle you tested your worth Then you read the right type of books When you were a kid. If you never ate your dinner From the blade of your knife, If all battles you watched Standing with folded arms, And if you never tried to stop The hand of the butcher or blackguard, Then in this life You just stood on the sides, on the sides
© Mark ?. Translation, 2016