To all parachutists, perished or alive

The years cannot be dispelled. Incense has sunk from the altar,
But the memory subsists – a lone breakwater of the past,
Flowers may wither, and briny tears dry out on the face,
A parachute does not wilt and fade that easily.

Every soldier is entitled to wounds and to fame,
Poets enfold the alliance of the sword and the bread,
But only a parachutist standing trial united
A lump of earth with the promised heaven.

We do not want to blame fate for that bitter disappointment,
That we could not return like birds can after hibernating *1) –
Our paths separated, and the echo of the shortest road
Subsided: you who fought would be the first to return.

A quarter-century. Although this history dreads luster
The pilgrimage beckons the recollection as every year,
In Arnhem, a child’s hand adorns the graves again,
The flowers flow from that small hand like grace.

As a new September joins the past,
As the motherly lament and agony fade away –
We always call together our brigade,
By the banner from Warsaw, before which we kneel.

Tadeusz S. Roy-Rojewski
(translation: Klaas Seinhorst)
*1) Polish soldiers who had fought abroad were promised to be the first to return to Poland: however, many were banished, imprisoned or murdered by the new communist regime.