Home > Uncategorized > Heinrich Böll: I’m going to die soon and before the war is over. I shall never know peace again.

Heinrich Böll: I’m going to die soon and before the war is over. I shall never know peace again.

====

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Heinrich Böll: Every death in war is a murder – a murder for which someone is responsible

====

Heinrich Böll
From The Train Was on Time (1949)
Translated by Richard Graves

index

Soon, soon, soon, soon! When is “Soon”? What a frightening word! Soon might mean in a second or in a year. A fearful word! It compresses the future, makes it small. But it fixes no certain date. It contains no certainty; indeed it implies absolute uncertainty. Soon may mean nothing at all or it may mean a lot. It covers everything. Soon comes death. Soon I shall be dead. I shall die soon. I said it myself and someone in me and outside me has said that this word “Soon” will be fulfilled. At any rate “Soon” means during the war. That is something certain, something to hold on to. How long is the war going to last? It may be a year before the Eastern Front collapses, and if the Americans and the English don’t attack on the Western Front it will take the Russians two years to reach the Atlantic. But they will attack. But, whatever happens, it will last at least another year. It can’t be finished before the end of ’44. This whole war machine of our is too disciplined, too cowardly, too brave to collapse before then. So I have got something between a second and a year to live. How many seconds are there in a year? Yes, I’m going to die soon and before the war is over. I shall never know peace again. No peace for me. There will be no more music, no more flowers, no more poetry, no more human joy. Soon I shall be dead.

***

I have already lived for forty-eight hours with the “Soon” hanging over me. Soon I shall be dead. At first it was certain, but unclear, but gradually the details have been fitting themselves in, and now I know to within a few kilometres of railway line where my fate will overtake me. I am two days nearer my end that when I had my first foreboding, and every turn of the wheels beings me nearer to my doom. Every turn of the wheels tears a piece out of my life, my unhappy life. These wheels are demolishing my life, unravelling it with their stupid rhythm.

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: