Untold Tales

"No few had fallen, renowned or nameless; captain or soldier;
for it was a great battle and the full count of it no tale has told."

The living mourn for the dead,
And are one day mourned in their own turn.
The threads of men's lives interweave
One generation to the next.
The horror of battle reaches us deeply, for we know
So many threads,
So many lives, were cut short.
Only their names remain, part of an ancient list.
What were their stories,
What lives did they live
Before they so suddenly and bravely
Came to their end?

How many children did they leave,
Never again knowing the warmth
Of their father's embrace:
The scent of pine and leather on his hands,
The woodsmoke in his cloak as they bury their faces in it?
How many young wives with laughing eyes,
Did they leave alone,
To be aged before their time by sorrows?
Were they men light of heart and high in spirits,
Or those who pensively dwell upon deeper things...
Did every fiber of their beings
Long for a proud, brave death well sung,
or did their hearts
That their own loves and dreams and living
Would never be?

The living mourn for the dead.
But in their last moments,
Did the dead mourn also?
In the violence and pain, as their last hopes
Were dashed to the ground,
Broken along with their bodies -
Did they mourn
For the death of their dreams,
The rest of their story untold forever?

When the Battle has faded into the past,
Their songs are still sung, but the words are forgotten.
Half-toppled monuments to bravery,
Gravestones whose names have faded with time.
Such is the harvest of war.
The living mourn the unknown dead.

- Primula