This poem is, some would say, not holiday appropriate. But it is, I’m sad to say, timely at any time. As families gather, especially when families gather, it’s important that these thoughts stay in our minds always.
The U.S. has been at virtually continuous war since 1941. Not even those nations such as China and Russia, whom we think of as particularly warlike, approach our record. Not even close.
by Jaques Prevert
Translation by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
The mother does knitting
The son fights the war
She finds this quite natural the mother
And the father what does he do the father?
He does business
His wife does knitting
His son the war
He finds this quite natural the father
And the son and the son
What does the son find the son?
He finds absolutely nothing the son
His mother does knitting his father business he war
When he finishes the war
He’ll go into business with his father
The war continues the mother continues she knits
The father continues he does business
The son continues no more
The father and the mother go to the graveyard
They find this quite natural the father and the mother
Life continues life with knitting war business
business war knitting war
business business business
Life with the graveyard