Canto 13


The most dangerous moment comes with victory
Napoleon


Pearl Harbour

Sol’s portal rose Impayen from silk sea,
A fleet illumes thro’ rain-thrash’d morning mist,
Upon the flat-top of the Akagi
Crush’d Yamamoto, pearl, in shaking fist;
World-airwaves fill,
“Tora-Tora-Tora!”
Instreaming for the kill, screaming, “The Emperor!”

Steeds dived down to Battleship Row
Like Samurai swift-charging,
Twin-streak a speeding torpedo,
Drop big bombs from whizzing wing
Awfly spectacular the show,
Noble ships exploding,
Day of Lusitanian proportions,
Echoes resounding round the wide oceans.

The morning’s destruction over,
No more death left to spread,
Each attacker, in good order,
Atop the white wave sped,
Leaving Hawaii belching smoke & Hirohitan dead.

The Pacific Ocean
December 7th 1941
09.30


 

America Goes to War

A veil of snow covers the capital,
But for the widely drifting Potomac,
A pageant of the pleasant wonderful,
Oblivious to enemy attack;
Rooseveldt dines
Within those Whitehouse walls,
One call him realigns, the perfidy appalls.

News-tickers widely read loud,
What words to be receiving,
Rude shock electrifies the crowd
Jaws dropping disbelieving,
A father’s tear slips sad & proud,
Portending his grieving…
Leaving his bag on the roof of the car
Off raced Carlton to tell the news to Ma.

Tongue-babbling fast back at the farm,
At last she gets the gist,
“Don’t join the army, boy, stay calm,”
“But Ma, I must enlist!”
She tried to soothe him with soft hands, they stroked a firm-clench’d fist.

Jerkwater
December 7th
1941


 

Winston Chuchill

Face sighing stern, lips draining brandy glass,
Marlborough’s blood congealing for the fight,
Depress’d with this unpleasant presentness,
No way to win the Wars in mortal sight;
Blimp from dinner,
Half-cock’d cheeks all aglow,
He gestures his butler fetch in the radio…

“… attack’d the Hawaiian islands…”
Splash & splurt, out burst his drink,
Thunder clouds throttling ambitions
Pierced by often dreamt of chink,
“All the tides & all the oceans,
Dare this be what I think?”
By private line he reach’d the President –
To serve his hopes, it seem’d, an angel sent.

“God be with you!” how civilly
Men end a friendly call
His boyish glee vees victory,
So we’ve won after all…
Now Hitler’s fate is seal’d,” he utters with a sterner drawl.

London
December 7th
1941


 

World War

With Rommel retreating to Gazala,
‘Barossa nearing annihilation,
Hitler ponders within Amerika,
Reflecting upon the escalation;
With timely blow
An ally ne’er vanquisht
Has strode into the show in ways he would have wish’d.

Summoning the Reichstag android
Speaks Hitler, virulently,
“Rooseveldt’s war we can’t avoid –
The responsibilty
Of this half-Judaiz’d, negroid,
Capitalist country!
Standing side-by-side with the Emporer,
I have declared war on America!”

As the claque joy demonstrated
A twinge shook Goering’s gut,
Long-awaited, ever-fated,
The World War nailing shut,
A Reichmarshall woe-whispering, “Now Deautschland is kaput!”

Berlin
December 11th
1941


 

Resettlement

The Star of Poland, stitch’d in yellow band,
Decree’d to mark the arm of every Jew,
Upon a platform pack’d the Grunfelds stand,
As cattle wagons clatter into view;
Peasant & priest
Into that cramm’d space sent,
Trains lurch into the East, towards resettlement.

Poland’s pitiful freight trains flow,
Desperation stagnates air,
One welcome smile softens the blow,
Jakob calmly waiting there,
To lead them all thro’ grey ghetto,
A flat for all to share –
Two rooms & one tiny lavatory
To serve his reunited family.

Nikki slipt to the ghetto wall,
The sign ‘Verboten’ said,
Chasing the roll of her blue ball,
The sentry shot her dead…
Wailing kinah to side & sheloshim the Grunfelds sped.

Warsaw
December
1941


 

Death of Khan Stemmler

All across the front the counter-strikes start,
Urged on by vengeance, Stalin & Smirnoff,
It seems once more the ghosts of Bounaparte
Have fled the cruel cannons of Kutuzov;
Adolf aghast,
Thin hair afleck with grey,
“The army will stand fast, we must not fight like Ney!”

Fighting firm with heavy losses
Germans slow the grand Russian,
But their invincible hubris
Defeated to depression,
Like Sargon’s dies supremus
With the Kullumaean…
Without his fingers, toes & half-a-nose
Khan staggers lifelorn thro the drifting snows.

CRACK! CRACK! he falls in writhing pain,
Snow stain’d red where he bled,
His warm breaths wane, the bloody mane
Of some befang’d wolfshead
Brushes his cheek while ripping throat… today the pack well fed.

Russia
Christmas Day
1941


 

The Final Question

Heydrich receives Hitler’s whim thro’ Himmler,
Schutzstaffel konferenz to Wansee borne,
Yachts dallying on a gentle water
Sumptuous luncheons laid on level lawn;
Aft finger-licks
& champagne guzzl’d hard,
Men stepp’d thro’ the dorics of some villa’s façade.

“The time hath come for Endlosung,”
Chirp’d Heydrich over brandy,
“Ev’ry last drop of blood be wrung
From the Jews methodic’ly,
Sparing not the avengant young,
Raise hands if you agree…”
This fateful act of faith bedfellows share,
Adds Eichmann, “Let us breath, at last, clean air…

At Auswich an innovation
Has successfully been tried,
The gas Zyklon… deportation
Shall drain Europa wide,
In fifty months more than ten million Jews will have died…”

Berlin
January
1942


 

Soviet Stoicism

Snow falls with a blizzard-bitter harshness,
Yet onwards, ever onwards, rolls the war,
Watch mighty canon-Krupps sent to oppress,
The celebrated ‘Venice’ of the Czar;
Constant shellfire
Rains down on every side;
No redoubts to retire, no bunkers for to hide.

Despite worsening misery
Of the cold, hungry half-dead,
Men kept alive through poetry
& the sawdust in their bread,
Few manage to hold sanity
With bellies barely fed,
Beloved pets allay the frozen tear,
Then first few little children disappear.

Krasnaya fills with men & guns,
Oktober’s famed parade,
Revolutions’ glorious sons,
But this was no parade,
Saluting Vladamir’s statue off to the front they fade.

Leningrad
January
1942


 

Fall of Singapore

The Tyger of Malaya gains his name,
The greening jungle stain’d in bosky blood
To England’s empire comes an eastern claim,
Built as it is on tropical, soft mud;
An army runs
Pell-mell to Singapore,
Its vital forts & guns stuck on the southern shore.

Shane Slater fed into the fight,
A total, bloody shambles!
How soon Shonan, O southern light,
Pure cauldron of world peoples,
Bows meekly to the Tyger’s might,
Tyrant without scruples,
Strips prisoners of common dignity,
Surrenders deems dogs & cowardly.

How mis’rable that mob of men
On the road to Changi,
None have eaten, shot & beaten,
Defeated & weary,
Facing uncertain futures & useless captivity.

Singapore
Feb 16th
1942

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