Canto 25: Last Autumn


All is ruin’d, for fire & the headlong God of War
Speeding in a Syrian chariot shall bring you low.
Many a tower shall he destroy, not yours alone,
While over the roof-tops black blood runs streaming
Aristonice


Gestapo

Into the solemn Prinz-Albrechtstrasse,
Foul heart of an empire within empire,
Crapulent on the banquets of power,
Men to a curv’d brutality aspire;
In dark & daze,
Behold the secret police,
Their diabolic ways rule an imperfect peace.

Thro’ all the doors of Germany
Slime tentacles penetrate,
Each plotter & his family
Shall face a queasitor’s fate,
Footsteps clunking full heavily,
Blood trickles down a grate,
Men broken by a callousness sublime
Reveal the names implicit in the crime.

Tied to a blood-stained wooden rack,
Sorrowful Stulpnafel,
Screams out as crack cuts cross his back,
“No more!” the bull-whip fell,
“Give me a name you filthy hund,” a whisper, “Herr Rommel…”

Berlin
August 29th
1944


 

Rousing the Reich

When we lasted long enough they gave us medals;
When we died they said, “Our casualties were low.”
They said, “Here are the maps;” we burned the cities.
Randall Jarrell

“Is Paris burning?” huff’d wistful Hitler,
Face fat, all pale & puffy, taut & tense;
Grunts low as enters General Molder,
“It can’t go on, this War is lost…” “NONSENSE!”
Chasing rainbows,
A vision is devised,
For deity still flows & soldier mesmerised.

“Tis time to mobilise fully
All of the land’s resources,
From the workers of Germany
Draw Volksgrenadier forces,
Show iron vein til victory
Rides on Asgard’s horses,
Back to the Reich as the Ultramarxist
Breaks ranks with the Ultracapitalist!

Yes, we shall fight upon the Rhine
As did Fred’rick the Great,
No Nineteen Nineteen shall define
The future German state…”
Sighs Molder, “I shall try again…” for that man was his fate.

Wolf’s Lair
August 31st
1944


 

Eastern Bloc

Tito accepts diplomacy’s charade,
His efforts bolster’d by combined Allies
Greets Stalin as an old party comrade,
But cautiously agreeing to the ties;
Upon his back
Scars of Russian lashes,
Still echoing the thwack of those captive thrashes.

Divisons need we, some twenty,
Then we’ll break that bastard yoke…”
“I’ll give thee one whole company…”
Stalin out-breathes cigar smoke,
“Restore, then, Peter’s regency…”
Tito cough’d on a choke,
“Impossible, the people will rebel…”
Stalin nodded respect, “Then very well…

How act would thee if the English
Land on a Balkan shore?”
We would resist, our only wish
Self-ruling, as before…”
“My friend, we must frustrate the West when we two win the war.”

Moscow
September
1944


 

Death of Rommel

Two automons knock’d on a legend’s door,
Charging their target with highest treason,
But for his services throughout the war,
Der Fuhrer has permitted him poison;
Serenity
Succumbs his famous wits,
“Speak with your family, but for fifteen minutes!”

He told his darling of thedebt,
Embraced his beloved son,
Donn’d old Afrika Korps jacket,
Attach’d Field Marshall’s baton,
She was nobility, & yet
She wept when he was gone,
Away into the forest & his fate,
Car halts, his captors leave the car & wait…

By seat-slump’d star these pale drones stand,
Now Rommel ‘gan to cry,
“Death by the hand of one’s own land
So hard,” stripp’d of all pride,
He wheez’d his last, closed gemmy lids, thought of his wife & died.

Swabia
October 14th
1944


 

Last Days of the Reich

Black eyes had this sullen band
arrogant in their shifting sideways stare,
eyes that had witnessed swift victory in other lands
William E Morris

Tho’ murder be the order of the day;
Some vale East of the Lakes Masurian,
Bleak Prussian homesteads, clad in sober grey,
Refuse to flee the encoming Russian,
Huddl’d in song,
Shells smash through cottage wood
Slaying each peasant throng, soil supping up their blood.

Throughout the Nazi satellite
Roam doubters for eversion,
Bulgaria gives up the fight,
The Baltic states beseigen,
Finland leaves Hitler to his plight
While the Romanian,
Gaurding the vital Ploesti oil-fields,
All land & liberty to Stalin yields.

How disgustingly dark is war
When it rumbling home,
The drumbeats are frightful afar,
The Volk of Berlin’s Rome
Nail’d down an Appalachian Way right to the Reichstag dome.

Germany
August
1944


 

Market Garden

how on his skin the swart flies move;
the dust upon his paper eye
and the burst stomach like a cave
Keith Douglas

The drive resumes to claim fortress Holland,
Just three bridges to seize by land & air,
For many miles the rich offensive spann’d
Thro’ bright Autumnal weather fine & fair;
Ah! Best laid plans;
Shatter’d spears, batter’d helms,
As optimism pans ailing thro’ painful realms.

Operation Market Garden
By cross’d bazookas pounded,
White seeds of a Dandelion
Outgunn’d soon, & surrounded,
Beyond the bridge at Njimagen
Relief hopes have flounder’d…
Procuring death, sad flora of the field,
But still those hardy Tommys will not yield.

Combat respect born to confound
The hatred born of war,
The streets around this killing ground
An ill-starr’d bridge too far,
For those whom survived Stalingrad the foe fought on a par.

Arnhem
September 25th
1944


 

Hungarian Questions

I know not what to strangers this dear landscape might mean
To me it is my birthplace, this tiny spot of green
Ringed now with fire, it was, once, my childhood rocking me
Miklós Radnóti

Hoffa tries to broker a sep’rate peace,
His rats shall leave the sinking Axis ship,
Hitler’s furies fresh treacheries release,
Sending reserves to reaffirm his grip,
Motor’d across
Pannonia’s wide Plain,
Racing t’avert the loss of all that blood & grain.

At Captain Skorzeny’s command
The auld citadel attack’d,
Thro’ weaking guards his elite band,
Passage pecking schmeissers hack’d,
He strode upright, took Hoffa’s hand,
“Your statement you’ll retract…”
Then gave a speech when all the shooting ends,
“We are not enemies but loyal friends.”

“Hungary fights to the finish!”
Faith restored Zapolyan,
“We have one wish, your Jew rubbish…”
Hoffa leant twards Eichmann…
“Yes?” “You must give them all to me for their expurgation!”

Budapest
October
1944


 

Autumnal Blood

Eisenhower clutches his purple hearts,
With Axis soldiers murder’d as they stood,
Rapid progress reduced to fits & starts,
Bogg’d down by Autumn’s dirge of rain & mud;
Most precious oil
Trickles from port to front,
As onto German soil the first assault troops shunt.

Thou art Hell, once verdant Hurtgen,
Thy primeval forestry,
Watches lion dedication,
Men embattl’d dev’lishly,
The German spirit’s bolster’d iron,
Flaking young-gun Yankee;
Harsh-fated rules amidst thine ancyent bark,
The going brutal & the killing dark.

Each liquid roads, each pile of snow,
Each booby-trap ambush,
Has stemm’d the flow, strange vertigo
Dizzies the Allied push;
His front safe-clos’d Hitler withdraws the Panzers in a hush.

Ardennes
November
1944


 

A New Mission

The sun sips the sky until it is drowning.
I am circling my prey.
If I am strong, the world will finally let us be.
Kamikaze Death Poem (anon.)

The Japanese air officer appears
Afore young pilots fresh-faced & alive,
“We’re looking for some special volunteers
To fly a mission no-one could survive:
One possible
Answer of three impart,
‘No,’ ‘Yes,’ & ‘Yes, I volunteer with all my heart.’”

Taken aback them were, of course,
Who’d wanna be a gonner?
But when night fell, floods forth in force,
Thought-phantoms of dishonour;
His mother’s tears, his father hoarse,
“Why bestow this on her?
A coward for a son!” in fitful dreams
Apocalyptic visions stuff’d with screams.

Out of the forty who awoke
“Yes…” answer’d thirty-nine,
The other bloke they push & poke,
While forming in a line,
Zeletic alcestissians for Yosukini’s shrine.

Tokyo
December
1944

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s