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Olga Shugurova: The Letter From the Trenches

Olga Shugurova
The Letter From the Trenches (2014)

My dear and beloved wife Rosa,

I am writing to you this evening with stars that seem to be so near me, so close that I keep dreaming awake about our home, our family, and our past. The stars came to our battle field in protection against the severity of this night and its lonely horrors of being. These stars today make me think more about the meaning of human purpose, here, on earth. I keep staring at the sky, feeling the winter’s weapons that are geared towards me. These weapons of frost, isolation, and fear remind me about the inner fire that I call love to life, to you, to people, to land.

This war is a horror. It makes me feel alienated from the very meaning of friendship. I feel the steel weapons that were imposed on me by the generals, by the system that I have never chosen. These weapons hurt my soul. Instead of hurting others who are labeled as enemies, I am hurting myself. The stars came near the earth as though trying to awaken us from the horrors of orders of war. The winter is harsh, indifferent. Wolves in the forest howl to reach beyond the moon; the moon is floating like a lamp. Its reflections also make me think about the past, where you and I are one without the harsh environment of the forced obedience to the laws of evil that human beings have invented to hurt others, themselves, and this earth.

Rosa, my beloved, when will I see you? Why on earth do I have to live in the trenches like a fallen angel who is unconscious to the meaning of life, the glory of the Creator, the whisper of these stars? What are my deeds for you? Rosa, my heart drowns in tears when I see these mass murders of people, when battles are covered with the human bodies. I feel how the earth cries and this flow of tears will never make me happy here among the comrades. The comrades stop thinking. They follow the orders. They become the triggers of war, thinking of victories while pushing the triggers further. Do human beings ever win with weapons? Rosa, wolves are crying in the woods. They are leaving for other places that are beyond the battles. Will the wolves forgive our intrusion onto their fields, meadows, stories, and histories? The wolves leave forests behind, people leave bullets behind in the meadows and mounts of bodies, blood, sorrow, grief. Where will we go after
this life on earth, Rosa? What will our conscience tell us about the future, about these stars?

Rosa, I think I am not brave because I am here on this meadow, in warfare, in danger before Life. The dead on the battlefield are staring without closing their eyes, they are still, they are motionless. They are with stars who are leading the souls further into the future journey of life.

Rosa, I am not an ardent soldier. I am becoming less human, de-humanized, dead inside when I take this weapon. My soul cannot tolerate war. War can never be justified, never. We as humans assail this earth, the earth’s soul. Stars know this, and when I come back, I will be someone else, I will be the other to self. I will never shoot, Rosa. I will never forget these stars and the mounts of life, buried under the weight of sin that we name as war, victory, deed, nationalism.

Rosa, I am the other, I am no longer myself. These stars have vanquished the very meaning of deed. My valour in the battle is with the stars when I follow the wolves to the other side of the earth. I will stop by a creek and drink wisdom. I will leave the weapons behind. I will return as a poet of life, Rosa. Will you marry me again, defeated, unarmed, unknown?

– Fritz, 1914

Author/Writer Shugurova, Olga, September 21, 2014. I would like to share a passage I wrote in a conversation with high school students about WWI. I wrote this Letter From The Trenches as an example. I read it to my family and some of them started to cry. This imaginary letter seems to be very actual today in the midst of conflicts, in the midst of war zones that humans have made on the face of this beloved wonderful Earth.

Photo Copyright by Graham Phillips. September 9. Lugantsk War Cemetery. 2014. I think Graham is a true hero who tells the real story that truly touches the soul and opens other dimensions of being today on earth.

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