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Remembrance
(7 December 1909 - 23 July 1942 / Bulgaria)

Remembrance

I had a mate,
a good mate too,
but... he coughed in trouble.
A stoker by trade,
he carried the coal in a sack
and threw out the ash
on the night shift for twelve hours running.

I remember the eyes
of this mate of mine,
how they thirstily drank
every ray
which chanced
to pierce through the grime
and reach our cage.

How swift was the birth
of his feverish thirst
in Spring -
when outside
leaves murmur
and flocks
of birds
cross the sky.

I could feel
the appeal in his eyes
and the suffering,
painful suffering.
So slight was the grace they desired -
till Spring,
till next Spring...

Spring came
in her beauty,
with sun,
warm air
and roses.
The clear sky
bore us
the odour of violets.
But in us was darkness,
oppresive
and burdensome prose.

But then
our life was upset.
The boiler gave trouble,
suspiciously rumbled
and stopped.
I do not know why,
but may be because
the other lad died.

Perhaps I am wrong.
Maybe the hungry
boiler desired
familiar hands
to throw coal on the fire.

Perhaps it was so.
I do not know.
But it seemed to me, he
in his gabble and gasping
was plaintively asking:
'Where has the other lad gone?'

He - the other lad - died.
But look,
Spring is outside.
Far away
the birds dart through the sky.
But he'll see them no more.

Such a mate had I...
A good mate too...
But he coughed in trouble.
A stoker by trade,
he carried the coal in a sack
and threw out the ash
on the night shift for twelve hours running.

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