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5/20/2011

Haiku Friday - Vilnius

I am reminded yet again of War - its folly, its cost, its lessons which seem to fall on deaf ears. In 2002, workers in Vilnius, Lithuania found a mass grave where 30,000 French soldiers had been buried - defeated French, trying desperately to get home through a terrible Northern European Winter. In 1812. The discovery finally told the tale of what happened to the remnants of Napoleon's Grand Army.

Haiku Friday


Vilnius


See them in your mind
The mass grave at Vilnius
Thirty Thousand dead.

The Army of France
Resplendent Red, White and Blue
Froze and starved to death.

Napoleon led
They challenged Russia's Winter
They were defeated.

Starving in retreat
Trying to get home to France
in bare bloody feet.

They ate their horses,
They ate the belts on their coats,
The flesh of the dead.

They were turned away
the people of Vilnius
Had no food to give.

So the young of France
Died there in Lithuania
Not one man was shot.

Half a million men
Left France to fight in the war
Twenty thousand lived.

Man's greatest folly
the institution of War
lessons never learned.

See them in your mind
The mass grave at Vilnius,
The graves everywhere.


Ndinombethe.



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5 comments:

Tara R. said...

I can't imagine making that sort of discovery. 30,000 bodies? Incredible.

My haiku is here: Fortune cookie apocalypse

Grandmother said...

Yes, such folly. So many lives lost as if war would really be the answer. So many families left to grieve without ever knowing where their loved one was.

upinthecosmos said...

Fabulous!

Big Mark 243 said...

That is such an eerie discovery. I haven't seen a story on this but I wonder how so many went undiscovered for so long?

PattiKen said...

Wow, Lou. This is so powerful. And you are right about the folly of war. We humans never seem to learn. As Albert Einstein said, "I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."