Sunday, April 3, 2011

Journey


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 19; the nineteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.



"That 2,000 Yard Stare" painted by Tom Lea, World War Two, 1944


Three years was a long time. It was too long a time to spend outside the little town that he had always called home. Everyone could not remember him too well when he returned next. Some of his friends were still not back. The woman he was all set to marry had left him. War had taken its toll on Lionel. It was hard. Too hard.

__________________________________

On a fine morning in the year 1940, Lionel, a man turned 18 not too long ago received a note that he was called out by his nation to war. He was being drafted. His older brother had been in Africa for nearly a year now. It was his turn. It was the hardest thing he'd had to do yet, bidding everyone farewell and assuring them that he'd return safely and soon enough, especially his fianceé, Margaret.

“Keep in touch, won't you. I won't be long. I'm sure about it. The war doesn't seem like it's going to go on for too long, anyway. Just write to me. Let me know you're alright. Keep me abreast of whats up here. I love you, Maggie.”

These were the last words he said to her before he left.

“Of course, darling.”, Margaret replied with a saddened smile.

__________________________________

It was 1942. D-Day had been quite successful. The Nazis had been thrown back from the French coasts and the villages were taken back. It was a fateful morning that Lionel, part of the 102nd Airborne Unit, received a letter.


Dear Lionel,


You cannot imagine how difficult this is for me. Our letters take so long to reach each other. I go to bed each night thinking of you. I wonder where you might be. You never tell me, of course. The last time you wrote, you were somewhere in Germany. It's been a month since then. I would assume it would be even longer when this reaches you. It's been too long. When would you return? I keep thinking of you as dead in some gunfire or bombing or worse, captured by some Germans. I cannot bear the thought of you being tortured in some POW camp. I can't bear it. Not any longer.


I wanted to tell you that I can't take this any more. It's been two years, Lionel. We would have long been married now and might even have the little baby boy we had talked about for so long. I don't see that happening any time in the future. All hope has been snuffed out of me, Lionel. I don't know when this war would end. The lack of correspondence is more than I can handle. Hence, you should know that I've decided to move on. Everyone has been imploring me to do so for a long time. I'm not strong anymore as I used to be. Everything's changed. It's been far too long.


I'm in love with someone else. Maybe if you return, I would introduce you to him. He's a wonderful man and he keeps me happy. I'm getting married to him in the fall. I'm sorry I can't wait for you any longer. It kills me to write this to you. But I feel defeated. I hope sincerely that this letter finds you in the best of health. I worry for you. I always will until you return.


Your parents and Beckie are doing well. Please do write back. I'm sorry about everything.


                                                                                                                                Maggie


__________________________________


The war had taken its toll on everyone. When Lionel finally returned in the summer of '43, Maggie wasn't there. She had gone off to New York with her new husband. He assumed she must have been happy. He had never written back to her. He could not. He was shattered when he had read that letter on a wintry October day of '42. She was what had always given him hope. She had always been the light he saw in the dark. He hadn't expected what had happened then. Not in his wildest dreams had he thought she would leave him for some businessman. His life had been too hard a journey. But he was strong.

It is said that all romances that end badly end up in the form of literature somehow. They get transformed into some of the greatest books to be told, direct from a broken heart, to be lost in the pages of time as they get dusty, not to be forgotten by all. He would not be as successful. No. He thought of writing a book; a book of poems. In it, he would cry out from the core of his heart. It had bled. It had bled badly. He just hoped she would somehow read everything he had to tell her. There was too much he wanted her to know; her love for her which pervaded, all the images of battle that he had seen and could never forget and that she was forgiven, somehow.

He hoped that someday, she would understand why he chose to forgive her; why even after having his heart ripped out by the only woman he had ever loved, he could learn t grow and live on. He hoped.

__________________________________


Three years of blood I have seen.
Too long a time to be away from my beloved.
Away from my heart, she keeps it safe.
But she couldn't; said it was too long and hard.

Mortar fell somewhere nearby.
Jeremy died, and then did the captain.
From somewhere unseen, a bullet flew past me.
It all happened too fast; I know not how I did sustain.

My hope was kept alive; I read yellow pages with
The fragrance of my dear lady.
They spoke of love enduring and moments that would surely come.
As I sat with men in the grass, waiting to go home, to be freed.

Alas, my dreams and hopes were never to be my own.
I would not have imagined what awaited me back home.
No, she did not desert me but left for another.
I had been at war too long and she could wait no longer.

I have seen many dreams, many catastrophes and too many deaths.
I have been nearly consumed by the horrors of life and those of its end.
But I always kept something hidden inside, an image of her lying next to me,
Smiling peacefully, relaxed and contended, after we'd made love.

It gave me hope and kept me serene in the darkest of times.
It helped me walk the roads, grimy as they were, devoid of other life.
A vision of her, happy and tranquil was all the light in my mind.
As the paths of war tried but could not, devour me.

__________________________________




The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

43 comments:

Enchanta said...

This is winning material.
The story, the plot, the poem that it ended with, the bountiful feelings that choked inside, all of it was beautiful. I don't have another adjective to describe something so ethereal.

Fabulous job! :O

D2 said...

@Enchanta : Wow. Thanks a lot. :D

I like to believe you're exaggerating a little, but I like what you have to say nevertheless. :D

Someone is Special said...

D2, I loved your story, poem and the concept.. Wonderful, btw I hope you had forgot to link your post in Blog-a-Ton page.. Do check it out.. SmileS..... mine is a dream a journey of...

Someone is Special

Someone is Special said...

forgot to tell you, I came from my blog as I had blogrolled yours.. SmileS and cheers..

Someone is Special

D2 said...

@SIS : Thanks a lot. I'm glad you liked it. I'll check out yours shortly.

Prateek said...

Wassup with you? How can you write such long posts. Phew!! But I totally loved it. Good luck D2

Enchanta said...

@ Prateek : This is a competition out here. Can't help the length when you want to put across a descriptive incident of sorts where emotions are involved. Plus, the patience to write something like this should be admired as long as the reader remains captivated, which I believe you were! :-)

Oh, by the way, I believe you failed to realize mine was way longer!! :P

PS: Hope the length of this comment didn't bore you! :P

Prateek said...

Haha! Now when you have brought this into my sight; yes, your post won the race of length. I'm not a Poetry Guy. It took me much more time to read and understand the last section by D2. Nazi kept me bound to this space with tight ropes. It's paining now. :P

D2 said...

@Prateek : The story is simply rather explanatory. I don't mind stretching length as long as the emotions are showcased as best as possible.

Of course, poetry may take a while to understand.

@Enchanta : The length of your post was barely visible. It was quite gripping.

Shilpa Nair said...

Hey There

Fantastic Post!!

You had both, the Prose as well as the Verse in the same post, which I liked.

Almost as if U had two signposts there saying 'For those who do not like stories, pls read the poem' and 'For those of who do like poems, pls read the story'...hahaha

I did not find the length a bother at all. In fact, it did justice to the emotions expressed. And my heart went out to Lionel, holding onto that one Hope, that one Dream, which unfrtunately turns out to be just a piece of parchment.

What? No this comment of mine, ain't competing with ur Entry..!! :)

Looks like I'm the only 'Cruella' in the competition with a sadistic Post-entry :(

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

The war took its toll on him, like on every one else, yet failed to kill him, the way it could have, neither could it kill the brave heart, that would continue to bleed, from a forsaken soul, forlorn.

Beautiful setup, and the plot. And yes, I've heard it too...
There are only three things to be done with a woman. You can love her, suffer for her, or turn
her into literature.

:)
Cheers,
Blasphemous Aesthete

antara4ever said...

Having a loved one in the army and worrying about how something could go wrong any moment in the borders - I have a little idea (of course she dealt with much more since that was the War) of the tension and pain Maggie felt. When she says : "I worry for you. I always will until you return." - I absolutely understand what she means by that.

A beautiful post, it was just absolutely beautiful!

The Fool said...

Lovely story and a poem very relavent to the context nicely capturing his emotions. I am really loving most of the posts this Blog-a-ton.

D2 said...

@Shilpa : Thanks a lot. haha yeah, I guess what you said about the prose-poem relation might hold to be quite true! I'm glad you liked it. All the best to you too. :)

@Blasphemous Aesthete : Well said. Especially the last line that you mentioned. And thanks a lot. :)

D2 said...

@Antara : Of course, having someone always on the brink of death and being unaware of it all the time is a matter of grave concern for that person. It can cause immense stress.
Thanks. I'm glad you liked it. :)

@The Fool : I'm glad you liked mine, is all I can say! :D

Cherry Blossom said...

You are back to your form. What shall I start with, most of it has been said already. But a fantastic and a winning post indeed. You had all the forms of art beautifully entwined. Especially the poem, I believe its an inspiration from the lady in concern. A dedicated piece. Wish you the best for BAT, but above all, the best in life.

Thanks for your inspiring comments for my post.

D2 said...

@Cherry Blossom : Thank you so very much. Yes, I had lost out on writing quite a lot recently but I'm glad you like this one, as I'm writing a short story after a rather long time now.
She inspires me in everything that I'm proud to call my own now. She inspires me in everything.
And it's always good to have such comments from you. Thank you so much. :)

Gireesh said...

Good one bro !!

Geet said...

u gonna win this time ...nice post ^_^

D2 said...

@Gireesh : Thanks a lot. :)

@Geet : I'd be really glad if I do!
Thank you. :)

Vinay said...

beautiful narration :) I agree with Enchanta as well, possible winning material here! :) all the best for BAT..!

Here's My Blog-a-Ton Journey

D2 said...

@Vinay : Thank you so very much, Leo. :)

Neeraja said...

God!!! I simply loved it!!! Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I almost cried reading your post. Also,

it is said that all romances that end badly end up in the form of literature somehow. They get transformed into some of the greatest books to be told, direct from a broken heart, to be lost in the pages of time as they get dusty, not to be forgotten by all!

These lines gave me goosebumps. If this post does not win, I donno what will. Simply beautiful Loved it!!! Good luck for BAT!!! I Honestly hope you'd win!!!

D2 said...

@Neeraja : Thank you so very much. That was an enormous compliment. Even if I don't win, yours and whatever everyone else had to say would remain extremely meaningful. Thank you so much. :)

Rekha said...

A really moving story that turns your heart inside out...even the most insensitive person would feel the pathos. Wishing you the very best for BAT.

D2 said...

@Rekha : I'm glad it touched you. Thank you so much.

Purba said...

You have to give hope to the readers that Lionel will find happiness in a journey called life.

A poignant story, could almost feel the dull ache in the protagonist's heart.

Enchanta said...

Hey, strangely enough, I was reminded of Forrest Gump.

Had to chip that in. :P

D2 said...

@Purba Di : Did I not? And anyway, I wrote the story knowing only where Lionel is at that point in time. So I can't say what would happen to him henceforth. Maybe there should be a sequel! :P

@Enchanta : Hey yeah. Didn't think of that, but you're kinda right. :D

Pavil said...

It's beautiful. and it ends with the poetry. I must admit I liked it more tan the story itself. Infact itsays it all.

Thanks for visiting my Journey. Thanks for your comments. I should have elaborated it more. What I wanted to say was, The strike against the so called outsiders & the talk with the man brings some change in Gagan's perspective. It makes him take the decision. perhaps I should have elaborated it more.

D2 said...

@Pavil : Thanks a lot, mate. I put the poem there to put in subtly what Lionel was feeling throughout the whole time, about everything that could have broken him but didn't.

About your story, certainly you could have elaborated more, but like I said, the idea was appreciable. :)

Sureindran said...

A very well written post. Liked the story and definitely the poem. Thanks for sharing.

Sureindran
www.sureindran.com

D2 said...

@Sureindran : Thanks a lot. I'm glad you liked it.

Anonymous said...

When heart bleeds with the pains of true love it gives birth to such wonderful poem......brilliant composition.

I am amazed....rather spell bound.....quite absorbing post!!Wish you all the very best for the contest.....Keep it up.

Aunty.

Yamini Meduri said...

wonderful...!!!

worth the journey thro the post...loved it..!!!

D2 said...

@Aunty : My heart does not bleed yet; it is simply bursting and the flexibility seems impossible to break. Thank you so much, Aunty. :)

D2 said...

@Yamini : Thanks a lot. :)

Bedlam said...

Congrats baby bro. It's worth the reward. Hugs.. :)

D2 said...

@Bedlam : Thanks a lot, Di. :)
*Hugs*

antara4ever said...

Hey congratulations! :) Just went to the Blog-a-ton site and saw. :D

D2 said...

@Antara : Thanks a lot. :D
You really should get an account of facebook! :P :D

antara4ever said...

:P I did have one...was the first one amongst my friends to get one (years ago)...but have been banned from it for this year ;) 12th is cruel

D2 said...

@Anatara : That never did happen to me, but I do understand. :-/

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