Le Déserteur

Boris Vian
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Dear Mister President,
I write this letter truthfully
And given enough time maybe
you'll read what I have sent.
For I've received with fright
a letter from the army
Informing that they need me
in the trenches Wednesday night.
But Mister President,
my heart was never willing
I wasn't made for killing,
you'll never have me bent.
I hope you don't feel hurt
by reading my confession
I've made a firm decision:
I'm going to desert.

I've felt the pains of war:
my father followed orders
And died, just like my brothers.
My kids I hardly saw.
My mother's suffering ended
and where she is resting
No bombs and no molesting
upon her may descend.
When I a captive was
they took away my wife
That woman was my life,
and all that's left is loss.
Tomorrow I will rise
and close my front door silently
At dawn, and leave behind me
the dead years of my life.

I now will spend my time
a pilgrim on a voyage
So all can hear this message,
be told about this crime:
Do not accept that hate,
refuse to obey their orders,
Do not commit their murders,
be not a soldier made.
If blood must now be shed
you should give some of yours
For, President, your laws
like apostles' words us led.
If my arrest you plot,
please tell the guards that catch me
That I no arms will carry,
and safely can be shot.


Men whose names are great,
I'm writing you this letter
That you will read, perhaps,
If you have the time.

This morning through my door there fell the orders telling me
Where I must go, where I must be to serve you in your war.
Dear sirs who rule the earth this war of yours is not for me
For the deaths of other men can't be the purpose of my birth.
I bear you no ill will but you should know that men like me
Think war is just stupidity and man has had his fill.

The days of all our lives have just seen husbands dying
And little children crying, and the misery of wives.
And mothers in their tears, while others just grow fat on war
And do not grieve a moment for those wasted wasting years.
And prisoners of war who prison robs of heart and mind
Of youth, of joy and all that's kind and all that's gone before.

Tomorrow I will go, I'll turn my back upon the past
And try to find some peace at last but where I do not know.
I'll beg my way around and tell all people that I find
Until I've told all human kind that life is ours to live.
And if you have lust for blood then let the blood be yours
For yours are all the bloody wars, dear sirs who rule the earth.

If you send your police to hunt and catch me as I go
Tell them I am unarmed and so they can shoot me in peace.
Unarmed I'm safe to kill.

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