Desanka Maksimovic

poems:

10

bloody fairy tale

It happened in a land of farmers on Hilly Balkan, far, far away; A troop of students died martyred on one single day. They were all born in the same year. For all of them, the school days were the same: They were all taken to the same festivals with cheer, they were all vaccinated until the last name, and they all died on the same day. It happened in a land of farmers on Hilly Balkan, far, far away; A troop of students died martyred on one single day. And only fifty-five minutes prior the death moment, a small troop of fidgets sat beside their school desks solving the same hard math quest: “If a traveler goes by foot, how much time he needs to rest...” And so on. Their thoughts were filled with same figures and tags and there was a countless amount of senseless As and Fs in their notebooks and in their bags. They were squeezing a whole bunch of secrets that mattered - either patriotic or a love letter - on the bottom of their pockets. And everyone of them supposed that he would for a long time, for a very, very long time run under the blue sky -- until all math quests on the world were done and gone by. It happened in a land of farmers on Hilly Balkan, far, far away; A troop of students died martyred on one single day. Whole rows of boys took each other’s hands and leaving the last school class went to the execution quietly, as the death was nothing but a smile. All friends in rows were, at the same moment, lifted up to the eternal domicile.

Between 19–21 October 1941 in Kragujevac (Serbia), German soldiers executed nearly 3000 civilians, among whom were students of local gymnasium. This poem is dedicated to them and their teachers.

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