WELL-BUILT HEALTHY YOUNG MEN


One day some well-dressed men came to my grandfather's village

looking for the well-built healthy young men.

They went from house to house the whole day,

and found only four who had satisfied their criteria.

My grandfather was one of them.


They drove them to the town together with other well built healthy young men from nearby villages,

and gathered them in a large building with thick walls and tall windows.

They ordered them to take off their farmer's clothes

and instead clothed them in thick grey uniforms which smelled strange for the young men.

They gave them a rifle each and sent them away to practice shooting and killing by bayonet,

shouting at them all the time in a foreign language they did not understand.


One day they were transported like cattle to a distant country they never heard about before.

There they met other men from Europe-well-built and healthy like themselves.

They were ordered to dig trenches in the deep frozen land and they were told that the Kaiser loved them all.

When my grandfather heard grenades exploding and his wounded comrades crying in agony he almost shit himself.

His hands were used to a hoe, a rake and a scythe, he did not know that one could cut humans like grass.


When asked what he remembered best from the war, his eyes would look in distance and he would say,

Someone spread the rumours that anyone died unclean would never enter Paradise.

So every morning before the sunrise one could watch hundreds of half-naked men,

trudging barefoot through the frozen snow,breaking the ice, performing their ablutions in cold water

and praying to God before marching into human made inferno.