Monday, 11 November 2013

words, war, earth



A successful infantryman must look at nature 
only from the standpoint of necessity. A gentle 
hollow in the ground is nothing but a shelter 
from the artillery fire, the beautiful green fields 
simply dangerous terrain that must be crossed 
on the double … nature in all her sundry aspects 
is essentially meaningless. 

 Shōhei Ōoka, Fires on the Plain (Nobi)


“To no man does the earth mean so much as to the soldier. 
When he presses himself down upon her long and powerfully, 
when he buries his face and his limbs deep in her from the fear
of death by shell-fire, then she is his only friend, his brother, 
his mother; he stifles his terror and his cries in her silence 
and her security; she shelters him and releases him for ten 
seconds to live, to run, ten seconds of life; receives him 
again and again and often forever.” 

― Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front


Nothing has changed. 
Except for the course of rivers,
the lines of forests, coasts, deserts and glaciers.
Amid those landscapes roams the soul,
disappears, returns, draws nearer, moves away,
a stranger to itself, elusive, 
now sure, now uncertain of its own existence,
while the body is and is and is
and has nowhere to go.

― Wislawa Szymborska, Tortures


After the battle, many new ghosts cry,
The solitary old man worries and grieves.
Ragged clouds are low amid the dusk,
Snow dances quickly in the whirling wind.
The ladle's cast aside, the cup not green,
The stove still looks as if a fiery red.
To many places, communications are broken,
I sit, but cannot read my books for grief.

― Du Fu, Facing Snow (对雪)






















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