Detlev Von Liliencron
Detlev Von Liliencron(1844 – 1909)

BATTLE OF KOLIN

Upon blood and corpses, rubble, smoke
Upon horse-betrampled summer stalks
The sun shone down.
Nightfall descended. The battle’s done,
And many did not homeward come
Then from Kolin.

A cadet too, still just a boy
Who his first gunsmoke smelled today
He had to go.
No matter how high he swung the flag,
Into his arms Death forced him,
He had to go.

A pious book lay close to him,
Which the cadet always bore with him
On his sword’s handle.
A grenadier from Bevern found
The small and earth-bespattered volume
And picked it up.

And carried home with quickened step
This final greeting to the father,
It did not sound gay.
Then wrote the trembling hand therein:
“Kolin. My son buried in the sand.
Who knows where.”

And he who has intoned this song,
And he who reads it, walks in life
Still brisk and happy.
But someday I, and also you, will be
Interred in sand to rest eternal
Who knows where.