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This untitled poem was written on April 12, 1945.  The author's name has been withheld at her request.  It is a sad story but one that deserves to be read and pondered.

The late O.B. Hill, founder of the 508th P.I.R Association, received permission to publish the poem and it first appeared in the May 1984 Issue 27 of the Association's newsletter.  He stated "the author of this beautiful poem is one of five ladies who have met every month since we were stationed in Wollaton Park ... to talk about the "Men of the 508th".

The Poem

So this is England in peace ...
Yet I sat in this self same spot a year ago
And it was war.
It all seems the same, the grass, the sky, the sun,
But then you were here.
So much has happened since.
The others now seem only a memory,
But you, who I should not remember, live in my mind -
Always there in my every thought,
Yet it is said you love another.
I don't understand - we, who meant so much
And said to each other the things we said,
Should be together - forever.

Yet it was you who changed as did others in June '44.
That test of nerves the night you dropped, the suspense,
And then to see your comrades killed around you,
And to kill, yourself.
The blood and sweat, they shocked your nerves.
You were not expecting it to be like this -
An easy victory, the undefeated paratroops.
Yet, for seven days and nights, you were alone,
Seeing them fall beside you,
Wondering each hour if the next would be you.

What could I know of all this?
I could not guess.
I too thought it would be an easy victory,
The undaunted Paratroop with whom I loved and laughed
A month before.
He could not be serious, mud-caked and frightened
Even in Battle.
He would laugh and say "To hell with them"
And so I wrote you letters
And the future, our life and laughed.
Told you little incidents that would make you smile.

Then on July 14th ... you came back ...
No telegram, just that knock
For 45 days I had waited for this,
But yet towards the end I doubted,
No letters, no word before that night.
"I can only stay ten minutes,
I've got to meet the boys and celebrate",
You were changed, my hand was there for you to hold,
But you didn't - my eyes to look into,
But I received no answering look.
And afterwards when we were alone
You told me "This is goodbye,
This is the last time we shall meet".
You looked beyond me as you spoke those few words
And I knew with all my heart that you didn't mean them.

Had you looked at me -
You would have seen there all my thoughts of you.
All those thoughts that I'd stored up whilst you were over there
Risking all - even your very life.
But no - you didn't look and you never knew
As I would never know again,
The thrill of having you hold me close
And the bitter sweetness of your kiss -
They were mine no more - they belonged to someone else.

In that moment, something within died,
It has never been reborn,
I loved you then, I love you now, you have gone,
But I will always remember you - to eternity.

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