Elegy for the Argentine Dead Boys, in the South Atlantic, 1982

by Salvador Oria, 1999

He gave a last kiss to his mother, looked around,
And said to her "I will be back",
Then he jumped right into the van
That took him to the vessel or to the airstripís barracks.

And in the same way many of our multicoloured boys
From each and every corner of our vast land
Grown under different skies
Showing the colours of our banner all alike
Walked to the portal of infinite cold
And to the unmerciful weather of the isles.

They played cards or checkers and sang
Sometimes alone, sometimes together,
Their journey was a dream of hope and future glory;
Black, brown, baby blue and green eyed,
Theirs were wide open in excitement full of expectation
- as Byron said: "courage growing out of fear" -
Plethoric of patriotism, self-sacrifice and redemption
They arrived in this isolated place within their hearts,
Known to them only as tiny specks
On the map to the east of Patagonia.

Children who never knew about the Roaring Fortiesí drums
Nor of the auroras in the clear winter night skies,
Argentine boys with names as yours and mine,
Went to learn about the rage of ironware
And cordite smoke and cold steel and bombing thunder
And screams and orders in the darkness
Whilst looking into other boysí eyes,
Foreign boys, like them, learning it the hard way;
Many have them closed by death and by surprise -
In the following feast of blood
Some lost both their names and their lives.

Icicles hang from crosses with a common Christ
Seen from different angles; They rest in peace now
In a fathomless eternity under the Islandsí soil
Flanked by their British comrades reaped by the same scythe;
Plastic flowers, flying blue and white ribbons, and brass plaques
Eroded by that never-ending wind playing its pipes.

These boys never imagined someone would remember them
In lines scribbled in their hated tongue
As if a language could create by itself
A division between heart and soul and mind.

Many boys went to the South to grow into Men or Heroes; 
Our tears have now been dry for long -
Those who did not return are still alive in us.

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