Canto 27: Endgame


The most persistant sound which reverberates through man’s history is the beating of war drums
Arthur Koestler


 

Peacemongers

As the head of Air Section, Bletchley Park –
A Jew call’d Jim Rose – phon’d the ministry,
He realised how much kept in the dark
Was his role in murd’rous copartnerie;
Enigma’s gains
Now used to justify
Beeswarms of deadly planes, fraught Furfurs of the sky.

“But Dresden is too beautiful,
Not a threat to anyone,
Please don’t bomb her into rubble
As with poor Beethoven’s Bonn!”
Bomber Harris burst his bubble,
“Man, nothing can be done –
We’ll do the city as a transport hub…”
Rose slamm’d down the handset, slink’d thro’ the pub,

Flopp’d in his seat, sipp’d his thick stout,
Then stood up at the bar,
Lungs spurting out unearthly shout,
“How lucky we all are!”
Now slamming doors he runs outside & roars off in his car.

Fenny Stratford
February 12th
1945


 

Dresden

Squadron Leader Bligh completes his home run,
Now Archie Day so he may fray again,
For if he were once more fell’d from the sun,
The network might he yield at torture’s pain;
Taking control
Of brand new Wellington,
Perform’d he pinpoint roll & join’d the formation.

Skimming the cloudrealm wing-to-wing,
Fokker flights well push’d aside,
The ack-ack air a-shuddering
Brutal bombs fell far & wide,
The noble art of murdering
Efficiently applied…
Streets & churches with bleets of terror fill,
A rare few reach the safety of the hill.

As ghastly Magdeburg suffer’d
Each city shares its hell,
Guiding steel bird, at calous word
Bligh’s load adds to the swell;
Far cry from gallant ’40 these cold slaughters ariel.

Germany
February 13th
1945


 

Death March

The stripes are march’d across the killing ground
Men call Eingost, strong shoulder’d Pharisees,
Tough Etta Grunfeld in despairs is drown’d,
Infelicific, fracking on nick knees;
Her Anna gasps
& tries to help, in vain,
“Keep moving!” grey guard rasps & blows out Etta’s brain.

Ragged, skeletal, stagg’ring, train
Lurches yon Yankee bomber,
Hungry as wolves, in constant pain,
As minutes last forever,
Wraiths in the wicked snow & rain
Tragedize together,
As defalcations rake the ill-condemn’d,
Snaking to what could only be their end.

From town-to-town two worlds collide,
Houses of ginger-bread
All warm inside, a mother cried
She’d witness’d children dead:
The Volk, at last, forced to account, truth cacodyllic spread.

Germany
February
1945


 

Iwo Jima

We are the little men grown huge with death.
Stolid in squads or grumbling on fatigues,
We held the honour of the regiment
Alun Lewis

The roar of morning shellfire shakes the seas,
Milters from Japan swarm ever-willing,
A whisper flaps unhappy on the breeze,
“Today is a good day for the killing;”
The oceans calm,
Beside an ashen isle,
Young soldiers sing a psalm along that final mile.

In swept each toughnut marine wave
To tread this rock volcanic,
Swarming for glory or the grave,
Went murdering mechanic,
Yard-after-yard their poor foes gave
With increasing panic,
The victory rose up for all to see,
The Stars & Stripes high on Surribaci!

Altho’ defeated, for Japan
Sons shall not surrender,
With loud elan each proud cave-man
Dies for his emperor,
Yes, dies a noble warrior, with loyalty & honour.

Iwo Jima
February 23rd
1945


 

Setting Sun

Eph’meral empire nears obsolescence,
The Towers of Tenshu straddle the sky,
As Tojo arrived for his audience
The pale moon sang a sunset lullaby;
Hurrying thro’
An iron-studded gate,
The evening hours, he knew, drew heavy with their fate.

Out of the southern, darkling sky
Silver Superfortresses,
Like eagles hunting from up high,
Rain’d doom upon the masses,
How many children have to die
Til their fury passe;
Tokyo like a paper lantern burns.
Of war’s true horrors the emperor learns.

As they watch’d the flames & flashes
To raging maelstrom fann’d,
Into ashes, stonework crashes
Tojo rais’d fisted hand,
“When sacred nations combat on they’ll heed honour’s demand!”

Mount Karvizawa
March 10th
1945


 

Crossing the Rhine

As roofless, star-mark’d jeep screeches to halt,
Georgie spits out globule of cigar phlegm,
“Boys!” he address’d his American salt,
Find ’em, fix ’em, fight ’em & finish ’em!
An ounce of sweat
Worth a gallon of blood,
Always audacious, get to grips, give it ’em good!”

As generals love glory true,
The Third Army’s matador,
Instills LUCKY, his plucky crew,
With rampant passion for war,
The Third Army’s matador,
“Advance over, under or through!”
Reaching Remagen’s shore
A rail-bridge claim’d worth more than weight in gold,
Battles won by the brave, Wars by the bold.

Patton pauses upon the Rhine,
Perches on pontoon plate,
Arches his spine, piss flows like wine,
Hissing with pent-up hate…
Zips up his fly, claims th’eastern bank to slay the Kaiser-state.

Emmerich
April 2nd
1945


 

White House

The blood of good men stains Okinawa,
The President prepares to share their fate,
Into the air that soothes the state of Georgia
His life’s last breaths wheeze out with gremlin grate;
He coughs, complains
Of headaches terrible,
As mighty spirit drains… & bows & leaves battle.

Being flesh & mind a human
But in stature an oak tree,
Lampadephorian Truman
Homelands his Presidency,
The ultimate American
To rule thee sensibly –
& what a time to take that foremost seat;
The Axis Powers verging on defeat.

A heads-up held behind closed door,
“There’ll be a new weapon
Ready in four months,” sat in awe
(How else would one listen),
“If it saves lives… shortens the war… then say I… yes… go on.”

Washington
April 12th
1945


 

Death Camp

If this is life then life should welcome death,
Thousands of abject feres dull wraithdom tread,
Despair & typhus pungent on the breath,
Grey, ghastly heaps & gutters full of dead;
Bestarv’d of meat,
To stay his certain end,
A priest prepares to eat the dead flesh of his friend.

As one the rough guards up & leave
Just before GI’s arrive,
Whose haunted eyes could ne’er believe
Stick-like rakes are still alive,
All that these green lads could achieve
Was feed those who survive,
Strangurious skeletons; skin stretching
Thin; what moans… what spectres… & what retching.

As Anna show’d her slump’d nephew
To Carlton Dillinger,
All blotch’d & blue, “What can you do?”
“Mam, I ain’t no doctor…”
Ludwig spasm’d… died… cried she for all of them together.

Belsen
April 16th
1945


 

Hitler’s Birthday

The forests burn from Dresden as far as Berlin itself.
The earth is cracked as if in an inferno,
As if in an inferno the clay smoulders.
Semen Gudzenko

Entomb’d in the sad swansong of his time,
Arcanum Fuhrerbunker, quetzal claws,
As geocentric wolkenkuck-kuck-sheim,
Projects the acute virtues of his cause;
While strangers wage
The Wars he brought to Earth
In this Aegyptian cage they’ll celebrate his birth.

Tho’ across him hangs a shadow
He invokes the ‘Good old days,’
“For he’s a jolly good fellow!”
The sober jamboree raise,
Soon complexion yields to sallow,
By him but one soul stays…
His little siren, the lovely Miss Braun…
He orders scorched Earth policy by phone.

He exhales with the exstasi
Of fearsome syphilis,
“For without me this Germany
Must certainly perish…”
Outside the comfort of those rooms stretch’d bleak necropolis.

Berlin
April 20th
1945

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