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Ballad of a Soldier Ballad of a Soldier
by Dr. Lawrence Nannery
2017-06-10 10:07:50
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Ballad of a Soldier

It is a simple sentimental story, but it leads to something in the end.

The boy is young, but with his country invaded, he is first of all a soldier.
He performs such an unexpected heroism that he is given leave to visit his home.
He has ten days.
There are chaotic conditions, there are many adventures, many diversions,
many frustrations, but who cares about all that?

ru01_400Of course there is a pretty girl, there must always be a girl.
They met in a boxcar and share humorous moments
and do good deeds and prove themselves good and worthy,
and of course they fall in love. They are not subtle but they are wise.
They love each other and they find each other.
This binds them together, but of course in the end they must part.
For them, there is no future.

The movie is too much, really.
There is no coldness, no cruelty to be found in the people.
Every trick, every stock character is used.
But who cares about all that?
In the end it leads to this:
the boy arrives home at the very hour he must depart.
His mother is in the fields – these women hold the whole world up, laboring.
But he cannot find her.
He rides through the cornfields on the top of a truck, calling out.
Even he scythes stand up and take notice, but not the one.
Where is she? He cannot find her.
He gives up and goes back to the shack he once called home.
Those adventures have cost him: he cannot afford to stay.
He’ll never get to thatch that roof, play man of the house,
even for a single day.

Then – thank God! – a cry lifts the world up to the sky.
It is the mother’s heart’s cry, hankering for her elemental child,
making sense of everything.
Alyosha!!
The cry pierces us. We look up.
She is running through the deep corn, billion standing.
A woman who has not run in twenty years, now like a young girl to her first love, running.
And then she reaches him and they stand there, and then she, pensive,
blesses him and silently cries and kisses his knuckles and kisses his face,
and his chin and even his lips.
But he cannot come into the house and sup and dwell awhile.
Of course he gives her the little thing he has saved for her all the miles.
And really there is no particular thing to say.

The other women form a cycle around them, silent and sorrowful and perfect as the Earth.
They are blissful, lost in the scene.
But of course he must go, right away.
He gets back on the top of the truck, and waves to the women as he moves away.
He must go back to the front, and he will never come again.

That thing in the son’s cry and the mother’s answering cry redeems half the pain.
Holding us, all onlookers in bliss and in awe.
Those sounds are the homeland bespoken,
the homeland that spawned, and that now gently holds him.


     
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