Canto 4: Stormclouds


In the track of great armies there must follow lean years
Lao-Tse


 

Mein Kampf

The world’s press finds the Blutenburgstrasse,
Beholds a new media sensation,
Some strange, enigmatic insurrector,
Shrieking, “I am the nation’s salvation!”
Thought’s purest prime
Hess summons to his room,
Dictating all the time his stately visions bloom.

The Germans are the Master Race
& over the Earth shall lord,
We must secure our living space
Eastwards with a war-sharp sword,
Where Slavic chaff shall serve our grace
& Sanhedrim abhor’d
Be cut out like the cancer that they are…
Then build a global throne upon the scar!

…But first must come conflict’s dull pain;
The reckoning with France,
Then march to gain Russian champaigne,
Such fertile, vast expanse…”
A warbling lark left both entranced, watching the blossom dance.

Landsberg
1924


 

Squadron-Leader Bligh

With skilful ease he piloted the plane,
Thro’ patchwork carpet snakes the Bognor train,
What views to command from the soaring sky
‘Tween tenements of barley rusks & rye;
Swooping the Downs
Went our stylish flyer,
Oercruising coastal towns, circling Chichester’s spire.

They heard his bi-plane’s buzzing speck,
Propellers eager spinning,
Wing him atop the field to check
If the Old Boys were winning;
He parks his steed, kisses Kate’s neck,
“Let me save the inning!”
“We need a six off the last ball to win!”
Giles Smythe-Tompkinson bowls a wicked spin;

With willow-flash the ball was sent
Beyond the bound’ry rims,
“Huzzahs!” are vent, into the tent
For sandwiches & pimms,
Says Nigel Bligh, “Back to the sky before the evening dims!”

Goodwood
1927


 

Der Fuhrer

Max Stemmler took Kreuzberg’s mendicant streets,
Epiloguizing dejected fortune,
Each crashing bank long labour’s theft repeats,
Made money might as well be on the moon;
One grey stone wall
New poster burning bright,
Piercing his solemn soul as if ’twere holy light.

Max bought the party newspaper,
Absorb’d it over coffee,
The Voelkischer Beobachter,
Giddying philosophy,
Promises of doing better,
See… today… a rally!
He asks for the bill, “Danke, that was nice.”
“Since you’ve come in coffee doubl’d in price!”

A new Crusade to test the Jews,
None knows just what it is,
Pairs of worn shoes torn into twos,
Scuddle home in phrenzies,
Flogging that dogged gospel to long hopesunk families.

Berlin
1930


 

Unter Den Linten

Hitler breakfasts by the Wilhemstrasse,
Watching the wheels of his private army,
For who possesses Berlin control Prussia,
& those controlling Prussia, Germany!
Beside the flag,
Luddendorf whispers, “This
Accursed man must drag us all down the abyss!

Men drank until the sunset made
A berth for the Evening Star,
Forming a happy cavalcade
Beneath Brandenburger bar,
As if with Bismark to parade
The Kaiser’s spoils of war;
Into the city, under the lime trees,
Ribbons of torchflame flicker’d in the breeze.

“Seig heil! Seig heil! Seig heil! Seig heil!”
Der Fuhrer close to tears,
His stoneface veil torn by love’s gale,
Arms jerk up to the cheers,
“We must build up a Reichland to endure ten hundred years!”

Berlin
January
1933


 

Anti-Semitism

At the heart of European Jewry,
Fair city of the Rotheschilde’s high finance,
Miff’d Moses Grunfeld dismiss’d from duty,
His former friends purpling with arrogance;
A hiss, a jeer,
“Go scum, go spread the news,
Your kind will not work here, you & your filthy Jews.”

He walk’d (they forced him from the tram)
Into the Jewish boycott,
His heckles up, hands all a-clam,
Some cassirean gauntlet,
Trying to purchase bread & jam
Abuse was all he got;
Up oer orizon swept a storm of tears,
He went to sit with father & his fears.

Gone mournful thro’ the cemet’ry
Between the Jewish graves,
On bended knee, in misery,
Tears streaming down in waves,
His parents’ tomb some spiteful, scarlet hakenkreuz enslaves.

Frankfurt
1934


 

An Evening with the SS

Oer the Prussian fief of Westphalia
Uprose a gothic, speartipp’d citadel,
Home for an Order, its strange Grandmaster –
Himmler & his infamous Shutstaffel;
Unbridl’d lord,
Far from the chicken farm,
Sharp’ning the Fowler’s sword to conquer Lebensraum.

Young Gerhart Buscher – blonde, blue-eyed –
Deem’d widely the blood ideal,
To long day’s lessons hard applied
His cool, fanatical zeal,
On one fine night, heart thumping pride,
Sat haught at Heydrich’s meal;
An invitation follow’d the supper,
“Come show us your skills with the rapier!”

Baron Von Grolsch made the first play,
Set on him in a flash,
Blades race away, graceful ballet,
Til with an uncheck’d slash,
Stormblasting pain stings Buscher’s brain, cheek splits with spilly gash.

Wewelseberg
1936


 

Cinematica

The armaments will start their devastations,
And though we’re for it, though we’re all convinced
Some fool will press the button soon or late
John Lehmann

To moving pictures Rita treats her son,
Laughs with the Marx boys, peers upon Pathay –
Smiles straighten with increas’d trepidation,
Her country choak’d on trouble-cloak’d Cathay;
Whoop-whoops & cheers!
Appears their President,
Easing most furtive fears with rhoticless accent.

Sitting beside his homely fire,
He panic play’d down calmly,
“Unto the Japanese Empire
A friendly hand extend we,
Peace ranks beyond War’s thankless mire,
Breathe Peace, breed Liberty;
For all our childrens’ sake Men must forgive,
& build a world where they would want to live”

The Hindenburg lit up the screen,
Cauterized by plasma,
Strange ghostly sheen, strange portents glean
About that swastika….
Like Carlton playing soldiers as they left the cinema.

Jerkwater
1937


 

Pierre & Veronique

Loiret’s perfect city, rose-fair & sweet,
Deliver’d from the English by the Maid,
Two perfectly-lustred, loving lips meet,
The drudge of harsh realities allay’d;
Wearing life’s youth,
Our spirit’s velvet glove,
They share but one bold truth… to love is to know love!

Pierre carresses Veronique,
Whispers, “Je t’adore ma chere!”
Hands stroking slender, quatchless cheek,
Hers insliding thro’ soft hair,
Watching Communist comrades speak,
Jacquerie fills the square,
Sporting pitchforks & the sickle banner…
“Vite!” gasps Pierre, “We’re late for lit’rature!”

They rush’d into the lecture hall,
Took their shushing places,
The floral roll of Verlaine’s soul
Wove its vernal graces,
While finger-tips touch tingling at poesy’s pretty places.

Orleans
1937


 

Fascist Knot

Hitler receiv’d his conquering idol,
A dazzle of banners & manoeuvres!
Impresses his ‘hero’ with mock battle,
“How like the Spartans march these fine soldiers!”
“My friend please speak
Beneath the Glockenturm,”
The Mai-feld’s bound’ries creak e’en in a Donnersturm.

Wooed Mussolini’s mood unique
Thro’ supper conversation,
“The British Empire has grown weak,
Wrote off the Tscheschienne nation,
Together we shall climb the peak
Of our proper station,
Forcing the course of history’s censor,
Steal victory thro all the pomp of war.”

Two sister nations buck & rise
To ride the wylde warhorse;
First centralize, then march to prise
Thy neighbour’s realms by force,
Then sail in search of empire, letting conquest take best course.

Berlin
November
1937


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