Why is everything wrong? Yet it seems just as fine: The same sky, just as blue as before; The same air, the same water, same forest of pine - But he didnít come back from the war. Who was right, who was wrong, I have no idea now, In our ongoing quarrels and faction. They wearied me then, now I long for a row, Since heís been posted missing in action. Heíd go suddenly quiet. He would sing out of tune, And his voice had a harsh kind of rattle. He would keep me awake, then heíd get up too soon - But he didnít return from the battle. The loneliness isnít just all itís about. Iíve just realised, we two made a pair. Itís as if the wind suddenly blew the fire out, Now I know that heís no longer there. With the spring blooming out now, in colourful riot, I called him this morning, forgetting. "Hey, leave me a dog-end!" No answer. Dead quiet - For he didnít come back from the fighting. Our dead will not leave us behind in the lurch. The fallen still guard us forever. The trees reach aloft like the nave of a church - But my friend will return to me never. There is plenty of room in the dugout below, But itís time for us both now to yield. Iíve the place to myself, yet I feel that I know It is I who was killed in that field.
© Jack Doughty. Translation, 1991