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Published: 2013/11/14

Roger Waters Sends Poem to Vet Who Discovered Details of His Father’s Death

Roger Waters has released a poem that he wrote for Harry Shindler, a British World War II veteran who helped him solve the mystery of his father’s death. Shindler—who has spent years figuring out what happened to soldiers that went MIA in Italy—discovered documents proving that Waters’ father, Lieutenant Eric Fletcher Waters, was killed in a ditch at 11:30am on February 18, 1944 during a German attack following the Allied landing at Anzio. The Pink Floyd frontman was five months old at the time.

The revelation meant a lot to Waters, who has spent his whole life trying to figure out what happened to his father. The situation deeply affected the musician, and Pink Floyd’s rock opera The Wall features a protagonist whose father was killed in World War II.

Waters’ poem, Only One River, reads:

When the wind scythes through the crop and good men fall, and children soft in mothers arms, cringe unbelieving from the desperadoes casual blade,

My father distant now, but live and warm and strong in uniform tobacco haze, speaks out

My son he says, stay not the passion of your loss but rather keen and hone its edge, that you may never turn away numb, brute, from bets too difficult to hedge

What price the child ? Which ? Yours or mine, this one at home, the baby bird in whistling bowls of pasta worms or that one on TV, dead and grainy in some Balkan ditch ?

To feel that other fathers’ loss denies connections formed in fields of blood and handed banner bright from man to boy, in pride of place, loins strong bereft of pettiness and rancour

So, cup your tears my father says, cup that salt badge of strive, it flows from but one river, it was on that my son, I bet my life.

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