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Poetry Magnum Opus

Raimund's Song


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many years ago I left my homeland

mountain pastures and my father's farm

running from the Germans and the Russians

feigning death so I would not be harmed

Red Cross brought me safely here to England

I learned the language and the customs too

took a wife became an English husband


but every now and then the past breaks through


and see my father tease our goat

with a belt from his old coat

the apron that my mother wore

when she waved from the kitchen door

and laughter as my brothers tickled me

evenings in the village dancing

hurdy-gurdy tunes romancing

all our friends so happy bright and free...


my grown-up son will not accept his father

my woman turns her face the other way

now that my working days they are all over

but thoughts transport me to a far off day


and I see my father......

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Great narrative. Gamut of emotions as well; I happen to like sentimentality. Most evocative line, I can SEE it:


evenings in the village dancing


But maybe:


but every now then the past breaks through


should be


but every now AND then the past breaks through


Just wondering.....

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Thanks dcm. I posted this in somewhat of a hurry before my invading grandkids started battering at the door. The verses are abbrieviated from a longer piece I penned some years ago about a WW2 Estonian refugee I knew. He'd fled across the fields and watched his innocent family and friends machine gunned down... while he was wounded... and left for dead aged 14. He could never return to his home for it later fell behind the "Iron Curtain"... so he made a home in rural Yorkshire farming. But small minded villagers never really accepted him because of his European accent, causing his son to grow up resentful of him. I spent many hours sampling his home-brewed hooch and enjoyed his company until throat cancer claimed him aged 67. He was one of the most decent and unassuming of men I have ever met.

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The opening stanza is rather like an exposition whereas the real poem seems to begin with S2. Perhaps ...


Every now and then the past breaks through

and I see my father tease our goat

with a belt from his old coat, etc.


Evocative subject matter, as one has come to expect from you. That period of history was so traumatic that one keeps going back to it in spite of the increasing distance in time -- over 70 years and counting -- because it remains literally unbelievable that such things could happen.

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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Thanks for your response which I appreciate and will consider. The words were written to music some years ago, with the first and third stanzas in a minor key and the second stanza in a major key which was also used as coda. It was meant to reflect the bitter and sweet of the subject's life. Poetry vs song lyric eh! :smile:

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Very interesting poem and discussion. I read this when you posted it, and it had an uncanny familiarity. The poem was unexpected from an Englishman, and I was going to ask whether it was autobiographical in some way.


In my reading I concluded the subject had to be from one of the European countries that was unlucky enough to be a Soviet/German battleground. I guessed one the other Baltics (Latvia or Lithuania) or perhaps one of the Slavic countries, but strangely I didn't consider Estonia.


Observed yesterday was the 95th anniversary of the Estonian republic -- not the independence that came about in the '90s, but the brief republic that existed immediately prior to the lengthy Soviet (Iron Curtain) occupation. We had an Independence Day celebration and ceremony that Estonians in exile have always organized in Boston. There was a keynote speaker, music, food, and folk dancing.



Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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  • 1 month later...
David W. Parsley

Hi Ben, this piece evokes images of people that moved through landscapes of my childhood. I'm with DC: my kind of sentiment.



- Dave

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