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Louis Aragon: Caravans of Peace

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

Louis Aragon: Selections on war

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Louis Aragon
Caravans of Peace (1949)
Translated by Jack Lindsay

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All the highways over France
Stream towards Paris loud with men
And lettered banners sway and dance
Where Peace buds out again again

And I recall another crowd
Like blood that hurries from the heart
The whole land in departure cowed
Rumbling in misfortune’s cart

Off the endless caravans set
Our country left us at a blow
Flight opened every sluice and let
The waters of the people go

Now in another way we mark
Death’s polka is awhile deferred
Spring tries its luck today O hark
How loud the harmonicas are heard

Along the miles and miles of laughter
Youth enters in the game at last
Songs lead on and men run after
Blue coaches blow your horns full-blast

Despite your flocking haste beware
Of children gathering as they please
The ditch-flowers yellow everywhere
The little sprigs of greening trees

People are foolish and skies soften
No matter why it happens daily
And down the road the cyclists often
Hold one another’s shoulders gaily

And I recall not long ago
Nails were hammered in the sky
Clangour of war we crouched below
Planes nosedived at us from on high

How hard to think such matters back
When look we’re passing in our ride
Great doves of white on depthless black
Across our homes on every side

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