Are you listening, son?
I watched the man walk slowly.
Hair unbrushed, clothes unkempt;
With the aura trying helplessly
Echo back to him those inaudible cries;
And the cold breeze hitting against his face,
Whispering in his deaf ears
A silent plea to stop walking;
But he kept on;
Amidst the mist he found
His way; like every day.
In him I saw sadness of shades;
In him I saw a colour of madness;
And then in him I saw
A father, broken to his last bit.
The man walked down the pebbled path,
And slowly crouched before his small world.
I saw in him a father, who was smiling
Over his son's grave.
And then I heard him say:
"The day isn't bright and sunny anymore, son.
It all seems to be just ‘yesterday’;
Your mother doesn't realise, I guess.
She is a mother after all.
And I am a father.
It's this small difference that builds
My strength; Strength to face you here. . .
When I say you died a martyr's death,
She says it's not the honour
But just the loss that a mother sees;
And I am left with no word
To paraphrase the truth a little less sadly.
Son, I hope, there is peace in the realms
Of Heaven; though not a trace, in your abode.
Life is set adrift, now.
We now move where the winds take us.
You were the best soldier, the bravest.
You earned honour; but the cost is heavy.
Son, I hope you are listening.
Your mother has shrunken her world
Even smaller; with your belongings
And your medals, as the limits.
Tell me son, water from which fountain
Can nurture dead hopes to life again?"
I saw the man, wipe a tear
I heard the emptiness smile softly;
And lifting his wrinkled hand
From the cracked brickwork, he said:
"To the world you are just a name
Among a hundred more in the Regiment List
But to a father; to me,
You are just my son."