It’s not enough to say I love you if we have to do it over and over again

Who puts the teeth into the flesh?
Who puts the smile onto the death?
Who puts the life into the bloom?
Who puts the rebirth into the doom?

We have to do
all the work
in the face
of the inevitable.

You were given a number,
and you called your ship
and told the officers
that if they got any closer
you’d jump overboard.

In truth,
you had already jumped

You had taken off your clothes
and splashed into the Baltic.

You made your way
to the south
of the North Sea.

There you found
a fishing trawler
with three men inside,
suffering injuries
from explosions,
which they were trying hard
to repair.

You helped them
swim in the cold water
hoping the salt
might cure their wounds.

But it was too late.
They would not make it.

When I heard the news,
I started to sew.

I had worked
sewing garments
since I was 15 years old.

I never had a real job
in seamstresses’ houses,
but I had learned to sew
in a cottage industry.

(A cottage industry
is a group
of independent workers
who take their livelihood
very seriously.)

It doesn’t matter
if there is no money in it.

My parents were so proud
that I became a seamstress
that they bought me a house
and a sewing machine.

I was only allowed
to make just enough money
to eat
and to feed my mother,
who was suffering
from chronic ailments.

It was December.
There was a war going on.
A war with everyone in it.

It’s not enough to say I love you if we have to do it over and over again