Herbert Nehrlich

Rookie (04 October 1943 / Germany)

A Soldier Returned - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

The year was nineteen forty six.
A somber faced
and moist-of-eye
dear uncle
revealed the truth,
only to one,
his wife.
They'd married
the year before
when he returned
one morning,
filthy,
from the Russian Front.
He'd brought
a Samovar,
used in the field
for Borscht
and
plain potato soup.

So happy
to be home
and watch the belly
of his wife
grow quickly,
as on command.
Those times were hard
but happy,
one could taste
the spirit of
humanity
in every brick
and stone
pulled from the ruins,
saved from the rubble.
They spent
their stashes for
black market bread
and yellow butter.
The Doc had said
to eat more,
for his cough.
' It is the vitamins,
the A and D,
and get a lot of sun
to kill the bugs.'

There was
so little sun
and hardly
any butter,
though.

His cough got worse,
he started to,
as if by accident
cough by himself,
in total privacy.
Until that day
when she had seen
the sputum,
all foamy red.

She sold her ring,
the one they'd
baptised
'I Thee Wed',
to have enough
to pay the Doc.
They saw him
on that Saturday,
he was sooo busy-
through shredded tubes
his stethoscope detected
a 'slight improvement'
in his condition.

' Plenty of butter
and sunshine, daily,
it is the A and D,
the best of luck
to both of you.'

She rose before him
the next morning.
On that Sunday
the birds were silent,
and he slept in
to never wake again.

There had not been
enough of anything,
and the TB,
with utmost cruelty
had claimed
another soldier.

And, on a sunny day
in early May
a little girl was born.
She'll always wear
a locket with his photo
near her heart.


Comments about A Soldier Returned by Herbert Nehrlich

  • (7/27/2005 7:31:00 AM)

    Such sorrowful poem...good work. (Report)Reply

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  • (7/27/2005 6:28:00 AM)

    A beautiful poem, Herbert. (Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, July 27, 2005



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