Canto 20: Allied Surge


I cannot, I do not wish to die.
I love life – I love this grass, this earth, this air
Tolstoy


A Savage Rape

Look how rough & coarse my fingers are!
I dug ditches close to the city, hammered
together rough coffins
Ol’ga Berggol’ts

***

“At last! At last! The bastards are going
& we shall know freedom!” sings Christina,
All round evacuation full flowing,
Rejoiceful, she turn’d the calm road’s corner;
But froze, face grey,
Four soldiers hanging there,
Into an alleyway they dragg’d her by the hair.

The spittle spat with hate & spite,
Lashing out with fist & tongue,
For love of life she put up fight,
But of course they were too strong
& raped her thro’ the dead of night,
None of them thought it wrong
To throw her barely breathing in a bin…
Next morning found by frantic Konstantin.

By now those Germans were long gone
& there his mother died,
An old Russian gave him a gun,
Clutch’d tightly as he cried,
“I shall avenge my family!” such hate to rage inside.

Kiev
November 6th
1943


 

A Savage Battle

As tho’ sailing on dreamy manoeuvres,
The majesty of air-space deem’d complete,
Protected by twelve aircraft carriers
America has launched a battle fleet
At the Gilberts,
Where surged the young marine,
Tween cool volcanic spurts yclad in em’rald green.

Lush saplings rush in from the sea
& plung’d into the cauldron,
Tho’ courageous mamertini
They moulder’d by the dozen,
Boys screaming out “Mommy! Mommy!”
Held pendulous chaudron…
Safe only in the space where Amtrak rolls
Unless, above them, snipers in the boles.

The twin-cylinder’d flamethrower
Blazes holes & trenches,
No surrender, “The Emporer!”
Such a grisly business,
Barely a handful faced disgrace, rest are sable corpses.

Tarawa
November 20th
1943


 

Bombfall

That old maxim, ‘two wrongs don’t make a right,’
Forgotten on the so-call’d ‘Master Race,’
Trafalgars of death bombers every night,
What terrors on a new-born baby’s face;
A droning noise
Comes crawling from the west,
As Churchill’s Murder Boys face their most fiercest test.

Thro’ shudder-skies aflak with shot
Musscles ack-ack fully-flex,
Bombs rattle from a pepperpot
On a virous Volkssturm vex,
Dropping on them what London got
But plenish’d quadruplex,
Ths is the night aggressive war blazed home,
As when the son of Gunderic razed Rome.

As empty ten thousand shelters,
When sounded the ‘All-clear,’
Coriaceous, emotionless
Watching a lynch mob near
This ruin’d British airman begging wounded, sobbing fear

Berlin
November 24th
1943


 

Home Run

Bligh gazed upon the golden coast of Spain,
Desanlace of this latest aventure,
Saw only friendly faces on the train,
Far from those at the start of his saga;
Back in Colditz,
Nervy, knife-edge moments,
With Fritz checking tickets & well-forged documents.

He rode his luck to Switzerland,
Compassment the Northern Star,
At Geneva he shook the hand
Of a man named Jean-Francois,
They drove thro checkpoints seldom mann’d
To Perpignan, by car,
Where with a gourd of wine, a quart of cheese,
Young Miguel guides him cross the Pyrenees.

The Holy Grail! Empiric Rock,
His heart leapt up to see,
In sublime shock he made a dock
Of the Royal Navy,
“I am an escaped airman, could you spare a spot of tea?”

Gibralta
December
1943


 

End of the Dream

Encaved in a distant reality,
Good German blood staining his vegan hands,
Entranced by ghosts & Himmler’s theurgy,
His officious imperium still stands;
While one-by-one,
His cities well destroy’d
The Allies prime weapon has dragg’d him to the void.

As Hercules donn’d last tunic
& died by his own poison,
Throughout the Reich, full bubonic,
Spread his proud war’s contagion,
Reduces homes to ash & brick,
Morbid devastation!
A bulletin! For him a worse bombshell,
Most of the VI sites destroy’d as well!

He rampaged with his jaundiced eye,
“This must be treachery!”
Drugg’d blood-supply soaring sky-high,
The traitor, “Who is he?”
Clinging sadly to slender threads of dwindling destiny.

The Wolf’s Lair
December
1943


 

Strange Festivities

Christmas? “Fuckin’ Pissmass!” Patrick spat,
The death of his best brother blaz’d his brain,
He saw him laughing in that cracker hat
He’d always win, that tug-of-war’s long reign;
This crown wore cracks,
Pat never dared admit
He wouldn’t pull full max – it just wasn’t worth it.

So hard to ever reconcile
Those spaces at the table
Whose faces heap’d up in a pile
Of memories & fable –
An anecdote, a knowing smile,
Then… that folded cable
Remember’d in the drawer where it stays,
Festivity solemnity did glaze.

Pat hit the slopes of Pendle Hill
On Boxing Day, before
Leave days instill belief & will
To trundle back to war,
Part of the spartan manhood set to slam some guarded shore.

December 26th
1944


 

Return of Rommel

Hitler summons his favourite marshal,
Still could he stir that dusty soldier’s soul,
“This year they must try & cross the channel,
I give you France & the Atlantic Wall…
From Kirkenes
Around the Norman shore,
Down to the Pyrenees, a thousand miles or more.”

As he tours the sea defences,
Twitchy gen’rals round him host,
“Incomplete!” agreed consensus
Shattering Der Fuhrer’s boast,
“We must stop them on the beaches
In one day at the most…
If we do not then this War will be lost!”
His voice grew deep, concern’d & edged with frost.

He waves his Field-Marshal’s baton
Like wanded wizard hand,
Foxish vision sinks one-by-one
Obstacles in the sand,
To rascalise destruction when occasions make demand.

Le Vivier
January
1944


 

Monte Cassino

From white morning mists rose the Ausini,
Weaving his magick Lord Sol clear’d the scene,
Spreading thro the streets of Saint Germani,
The Allies pressed in khaki, beige & green;
Such handsome men
Met that crack mountain troop,
Again! Again! Again! Returning with a stoop.

Altho’ the abbey pleach’d sublime
Above the battle’s terrors,
Centuries shatter’d in short time
By waves of Allied bombers,
This heinous, most heathen crime,
Repeated thrice before…
Those tons of dust thrown up settl’d to show
Monks batter’d, weeping for Gregorio.

They left this bastion of faith
Like rippers leave a whore,
Some ruin’d wraith, stone sunk in Lethe,
Til she will rise once more,
A mass of grey stone sleeping in the trail of Total War.

Italy
Feb 16th
1944


 

Budding Love

Time rushes as the brush of history
Paints frassic varnish oer th’embattled Earth,
Sennets resounding loud for Liberty,
A generation’s sacrifice her worth;
Hebe’s darlings
From valley, peak & shore,
Lull’d by true valour’s wings & poetry in war.

Maggie ‘I’ll-do-my-bit‘ Sumner
Sign’d up to the Land’s Army,
Threshing ‘Down South’ in hot weather,
Slim, scruffy, sweaty, sultry,
My name is Carlton Dillinger…”
“Oh aye! Mi name’s Maggie!”
“Nice to meet ya ma’m!” “This one’s got manners!”
“When d’ya finish?” “Soon… will yer wait fer us?”

By wee heliochryse they walk,
Soon skipping hand-in-hand,
They stop to smoke, soon drop the talk,
As sudden lust’s demand
Consummates the bond between America & England.

Devon
March
1944

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