Feliks Konarski Poetry

Orchestra and Choir of Polish Radio  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwnbD5KY33o

Red Poppies on Monte Cassino

Do you see the rubble on the summit?

There, like a rat, hides your foe!
You must, you must, you must
hurl him off the clouds by his neck!
And so, frantic and fierce, they went,
they went to kill and to avenge,
they went, as always, unyielding,
to fight as always for honour.

Red poppies on Monte Cassino
Instead of dew, Polish blood they drank.
O’er these poppies soldiers fought and died
but anger was fiercer than death.
Years will pass and centuries elapse,
traces of those days will remain
and poppies on Monte Cassino
will be redder, enriched by Polish blood.

The ‘lost men’ charged through the fire,
more than one was struck and fell,
like those mad horsemen from Somosierra,
like those from Rokitny years ago.
With a frantic force they charged,
and they made it. The attack came off.
Their white and red standard they raised
aloft in the rubble in the clouds.

Red poppies on Monte Cassino ...

Do you see this row of white crosses?
That’s where with honour the Poles pledged their all.
Go forward, the further, the higher you go
the more will you find at your feet.
This soil belongs to Poland,
though Poland be far from here
for freedom is measured in crosses.
That is history’s lesson dear.

Red poppies on Monte Cassino ...

A quarter-century has passed.
The dust of battle has settled.
The monastery resurrected with white walls
reaches up to the skies anew.
But memory of those ghastly nights
and of the blood that here was shed
echoes in the monastery bells
tolling the fallen to sleep...!

17 May 1944 

written by Feliks Konarski (1907-1991) [better known as Ref-Ren]

during the Battle of Monte Cassino

melody by Alfred Schutz (1910-1999) - who both served in Anders' Army

*last verse written by Konarski in 1969, on 25th anniversary

Translated by B & T Wojewodka

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