The strange young man who comes to me
A soldier on a three-day spree
Who needs one night’s cheap ecstasy
And a woman’s arms to hide him
He greets me with a courtly bow
He hides his pain by acting proud
And he drinks too much and laughs too loud
How can I deny him
Let us dance beneath the moon
I’ll sing to you “Claire de Lune”
The morning always comes too soon
But tonight the war is over
He speaks to me in schoolboy French
Of a soldier’s life inside a trench
The look of death, the ghastly stench
I do my best to please him
He puts two roses in a vase
Two roses sadly out-of-place
Like the gallant smile on his haggard face
Playfully I tease him
Hold me ‘neath the Paris sky
Let’s not talk of how or why
Tomorrow’s soon enough to die
But tonight the war is over
We make love too hard, too fast
He falls asleep, his face a mask
He wakes with the shakes and drinks from his flask
I put my arms around him
They die in the trenches, they die in the air
In Belgium and France, the dead are everywhere
They die so fast there’s no time to prepare
A decent grave to surround them
Old World glory, Old World fame
The Old World’s gone, gone up in flames
Nothing will ever be the same
And nothing lasts forever
I’d pray for him but I’ve forgotten how
And there’s nothing, nothing that can save him now
But there’s always another with the same funny bow
And who am I to deny them
Tonight the war is over
Through A Glass Darkly
(David Olney/Bug Music-David Olney Songs)
Michael, the one that wrote these lyrics might understand a bit. (sparrow)
On Reading “Tonight the War is Over“
I was never alone, was I?
Someone was with me. Someone knew enough about life . . and death to bring two bodies together. From the start of time, when a young man was called to defend something, something that some other felt important enough for another to die for. . .
She was there. She knew. She gave Herself. No, She raised love to a level that was divine. Giving of one self so that another could escape war even for one night.
I can’t stop the tears. I cry whole-heartedly now, letting my weakness show as I sob and wretch like a little old woman at the funeral of someone near and dear to her.
It started at the end. The end of this poem by some One who must have known what real war was about. The story evolved, the words took on a life of their own, and soon, the most beautiful young Lady I have ever known took control and comforted me, the soldier who displayed to all his courage, or at least put on that false mask day in and day out, unable to let it down for a second because other men depended on his stoicism. His strength. His hell that he faced at the front lines, inside the trenches, in the “bush.”
How many poets, story-tellers, Homer-like epic-writers does humanity need to see the futility of war, the destruction of pieces of young men, and young women?
Hard to stop myself. To get “control” of emotions I forgot I still had.
But I thank you for this. My men thank you for this understanding and the offer your women made for the boys in A Platoon, C Company.
Former Lt michael j,
a snot-nosed sombitch kid once again.
[…] (For more, see: women-know-the-help-boys-need-in-war) […]
Dear michael j
If only there was something that could completely erase the painful memories still vividly living within war torn hearts…
This beautiful and oh so sad poem and your own tale…
I want to hug you and am grateful for my own tears now mingling with yours, for tears flow and eventually will dry, whereas bitterness grows stownlike.
With love and affection
If they’re tears of joy, then let ’em flow. This boy will understand where “that girl” is coming from.
Michael J. . . . you inspire me, i love the Zen ways of embracing everything and finding wholeness. . .your life is a teaching. . .
I placed a bit of text from ancient text about the Great Mother on my Ordinary sparrow sacred blog; for it reminds me of you what you where able to see and experience. . .There are so many places of Holy that get overlooked, thank you for showing us so many. . .
I see the Great Mother is you . . .
And I . . .
And Mother . . .and daughter . . . saint . . . and sinner.
Your “1917” offering helped me to cry like I never cried, sobbing all the time I typed, not once looking at the key board or the screen until I finished, wiped away years of tears, realizing a Higher Force had been (and always will be) there with me in an act I was taught to be sinful.
I was “awakened,” and now cherish it as one of the most loving things some One has ever done for me.
Thank you Michael J you are a beautiful soul. . .and thanks Stephen G, your heart truly ditto’s my own.
Thank you . . .
For introducing me to a new world as seen through such an artist’s eyes. My God, to put one Self in the position of that French woman with so much compassion and wisdom, is truly remarkable. It sent me through such an emotional loop that I still feel lightheaded hours after reading the work.
Thanks. Just love that poem, those “lyrics.” So moving, so truthful.
David Olney has long been a favorite of mine….really deep country singer/songwriter….looks into the heart of darkness, yet brings some light and humanity to what he sees…I hope to see him in person some day…
This is all so deeply moving I don’t have anything to say, except, I love you all—all you soldiers, young and old, throughout history and time. May you find justice, may you find peace, may you lay your burdens down when you can, and when you can’t, may your burden be light, and may you find friends to support you along you way.