The Life That I Have

Why haven’t I heard of Leo Marks before last week? I stumbled across the first stanza of his infamous (so I later discovered – except to those living under a rock as I have) war poem in a literary guide book and I was absolutely blown away. I have always struggled with poetry but in this, albeit an encrypted war poem to aid the resistance against the Nazis, I see the beauty of poetry. Composed by Marks while he worked as a cryptanalyst, it was a message he sent to the French resistance agent Violette Szabo in 1944.

Here is the poem for the uninitiated (although it’s pinched from wikipedia):

The life that I have

Is all that I have

And the life that I have

Is yours

 

The love that I have

Of the life that I have

Is yours and yours and yours

 

A sleep I shall have

A rest I shall have

Yet death will be but a pause

 

For the peace of my years

In the long green grass

Will be yours and yours

And yours

 

Utterly heartbreaking and yet romantic, is it not?

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11 comments

  1. Ah I knew I’d read this before, and it’s come to me. I’ve read Leo Marks’ autobiography titled “Between silk and cyanide : a codemaker’s war, 1941-1945”. It’s a fascinating book – though I got lost in the codes! Thanks for reminding me of it Mae.

  2. You know, I do believe I have read this poem but didn’t know its history or author. Appreciate this. Someone I need to study-up on. Well done.

    Happy Rally days …

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