Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FOOT-SOLDIER'S SONG, by CHARLES VILDRAC

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE FOOT-SOLDIER'S SONG, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I'd like to be the old man/ I saw along the way:
Last Line: On the first day of the war.
Alternate Author Name(s): Messager, Charle
Subject(s): Men; Old Age; Singing & Singers; Soldiers

I'd like to be the old man
I saw along the way:
Seated in the sunlight
He was crushing white pebbles
Between his open knees.

Nothing was asked of him
But his lonely labor.
When noon scorched the fields
He ate his bread in the shade.

In a ravine
Hidden by foliage
I know a forgotten quarry
Where no path leads.

Light enters furtively
And the soft rain;
Sometimes a single bird
Questions the silence.

It is an old wound,
Narrow, crooked, deep,
Forgotten even by the sky:

Under the wayfaring tree and the thorns
I'd like to live and die.
I'd like to be the blindman
At the church door:

In the sonorous night
He sings!
He takes to himself
The open air, that moves in him
Like a pure breeze under vaults.

For he is the fortunate jetsam
Drawn from the gloomy stream,
That no longer can roll him
In its mire and its hate.

I should like to have been
The first soldier fallen
On the first day of the war.

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