Medal of Valour

Bei Langemarck (Februar 1918) (Near Langemarck [February 1918]), plate 7 from Der Krieg (The War), 1924
Otto Dix; Publisher: Karl Nierendorf

He stared at the guts of his colleague
Breaking down and shouting:
“This is hell, the horrors of hell!”
Half weeping, half in pain,
Half wrathful, half in blod-shot angry mien,
After another shelling
The orders were disregarded,
They would stay in position anyways,
Delirious commanders,
That were long insane,
They broke down like every other
They were incapable of anything,
But shouting and running,
And getting a bullet through the helm.

After the war, he received some medals,
The blood written over them
Didn’t return his leg nor his wife,
Who run with a younger one,
Who evaded service.
He made his living as a librarian,
Silently gazing from behind his glasses,
On people’s choice of words.
It testified for their composure,
The books they’ve read – so he believed.

He passed away twenty years ago,
Now his medals are on sale
In the Warsaw Old Town,
By a poor man, a collector,
Who gather them for some idiots to buy.
No one ever buys them anyway,
They are worthless, no brand,
Just a shiny thing of bronze.

When I travelled to Asia,
I’ve sworn to my Japanese friend,
That I won’t buy military antiques,
I did, and then I realized
That the sword belonged to a slayed officer,
I gave it away at the border,
How fine that I didn’t buy and sell
Some slayed man’s life.

– In memoria of my greatgreatgrandfather who as a Tzarist white guard in Odessa fought against his Bolshevik son, they probably both died during Typhoid on the frontlines.

– In memoria of Czajkowski, my great great grandfather, who fought for Austro-Hungarian army during WWI

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