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The Globe and Mail

Read Milton Cohen's poems from the battlefields of WWII Europe

Picture of Milton Cohen taken overseas during the war.

Courtesy of Sam Borer

As Milton Cohen fought on the battlefields of Italy and northwest Europe during the Second World War, he received cigarettes and other precious items from his hometown of Montreal thanks to high school friend, Sam Borer. In return, Mr. Cohen sent back poetry. His poems were rediscovered decades later by Mr. Borer's son, Leonard.

Forest Fantasy

Here, beside this winding forest path,

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This quiet pool reflecting all the silence of the trees,

And the fluffy-clouded heavens…

Here, in this green wonderland,

Where the sands of time stop dead,

Death seems far away.

The rushing, roaring tempo

Of a world gone mad…..

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A sick and bleeding earth

Where steel grinds flesh,

And youth is lost in trenches

And madmen laugh at maps –

Turning cities to blackened ruins

overnight, as Death is born.

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The genius for death seems great,

Yet here in the wooded shades

of your hour's paradise

and hidden solitude, you find

That all these devil's miracles-

These bloody wonders of destruction-

Cannot create a sunset

Nor a blade of grass.


The Earth Weeps

The Rule of Tyranny

A brute, which lives on massacre

and Destruction…

The Earth Weeps,

Trembles in her fear,

Clutches her dead, distorted children

To her bosom, and prepares to die.

Little nations choke

Within a cloud of misery

In this gigantic nightmare

Of the Jungle…

Ant the white-faced millions

Plod into the slaughterhouse of War!

Offerings of sacrifice to the Gods of death…

Worshipping destruction

And the machines of Hell!

The wells of blood run deep…

The world has lost its soul

And found a gun.

I worship no man. But the thoughts

and deeds of many, I do.

For men do not create the truth.

They merely discover it,

as an explorer discovers a new land.

It has always existed before him, and will continue

To exist after him. Men change-

The truth never.

Let us not personify any one man as symbolizing

Truth. For should he turn traitor to the truth,

he would make traitors of us all.



I dreamt I stood on the edge of the world,

Gazing into Eternity -

The sky was a song of sunshine,

And sparkling brilliancy -

Laughter abounded everywhere

In joyful symphony –

Fear and hate had disappeared

In the dust of time's debris -

War was just a yellowed page

Of forgotten history -

Rainbows shouted to the sun

That the Universe was free!



Oh the Bald-Head stepped on the balcony

Mussolini! Mussolini!

Things were pretty soft you see -

Good old Mussolini

His six chins trembled in the breeze

Paunchy Mussolini!

His stomach fell below his knees

Tarzan Mussolini!

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