Canto 7: Evolutions


To delight in conquest is to delight in slaughter
Lao-Tse


Enter Italia

Altho’ his trains to time not yet have run,
Il Duce orders Italy’s attack
Tossing ancyent doors of Janus open,
Sticking a dagger in the Gallic back;
As Axis host
Swells two birds in one hand,
Spears pierce African coast like cacti roughens sand.

With Hitler nigh victorious,
Rises martial parasite,
Mussolini, ‘vainglorious,’
Young Alpini sends to fight,
Round snow-caps & ice crevices,
Far from Agrippa’s might,
Millennia has diluted the gene
That once won Europe for its own demesne!

Jean-Francois joined a local troop
Of common folk in arms,
Empiric group of youth & stoop,
Of farmers & gendarmes,
Shall guard the pass to Italy, some pancreas of Brahms.

Briancon
June 11th
1940


 

France’s Ignominy

How they fought on the field of Alesia!
How they conquer’d all with Napoleon!
How they endured the seige of the Kaiser!
How they bled at the bloodbath of Verdun!
War shown no care,
Les personnes du Paris
Ominouscent declare theirs an open city.

As ageing Petain chair’d the meet,
His cabinet divided,
Monsieurs we must accede defeat,
To battle on misguided!”
“Non! To Afric we must retreat,
Fight like corner’d tigers!”
“Oui! If we go we shall retain our pride,”
“Mais! Prison camps must cloak the countryside!”

“What of our comrades, les Angliches?”
“They offer union;
To fight, they wish, to the finish…”
“Tis naught but corpse fusion,”
Says Petain, “Soon she’ll have her neck wringing like a chicken.”

Bordeaux
June 17th
1940


 

Seasider

Sue Johnstone drifts to London Bridge Station,
Jumps on a train escaping to the sea,
Leaves London’s diamond civilisation,
Inspiraling hornet activity;
Infinite air
Of this midsummer’s day,
Wind ruffles thro’ her hair, so good to get away.

East Croydon first, then Three Bridges,
Into countryside serene,
Rusted bangers building hedges,
Signposts nowhere to be seen,
At Brighton hops she on a bus,
Winding to Rottingdean,
There stretches limbs on pebbledashy sand,
“I’m sorry, lav, civilians are bann’d!

We’ll mine the beach this week, they said,”
Sue stood & brush’d her skirt,
Her pretty head was full of dread
That turn’d to full alert,
& then full of her little ones, then thick went wick with hurt.

Sussex
June 21st
1940


 

Conqueror!

Clear as crystal in his reminiscence,
This world-historical adventurer
Tours poppy fields; once, here, youthful vibrance
Expended as a lowly despatch runner;
“How good & true
Our sacrifice now seems!”
He sighs, while driven to the city of his dreams.

Embedded in his consciousness
Were the palaces & rues,
The operatic spaciousness
Ev’ry artist soul imbues
With electric vivaciousness,
As if prolific muse;
Swift papparazi following his lead
Yon Arc & Tower to the Invalides,
.
He gazed thro’ the sarcophagus
Into his hero’s core;
Soft silences, stood glorious
On Alexander’s shore…
“This city truly wondrous but we’ll make our Berlin more!”

Paris
June 23rd
1940


 

Vital Days

With swastikas hanging from Brandenburg,
Hitler skulks back to his Reichschancell’ry,
Since Belgium, Holland, France & Luxemburg,
Just one more mob, determin’d utterly;
A giant map
Frames the situation,
One dew-bejewell’d gap gaurding that damn’d nation.

“A fleet of mine layers shall build
A bristling ballustradus,
The legions then may land unkill’d
From Ramsgate to Lyme Regis,
Soon British fields for Berlin till’d,
But first, remember this,
That only one pre-requisite is there,
We must control the all-important air.”

Commending wars der Fuhrer weaves,
Twelve friends crown’d Field-Marshal,
Each rod receives like laurel leaves –
God-lust swells Goering’s skull,
His baton must be kingsize… with ivory enamel.

Berlin
July 19th
1940


 

Dunkerque Spirit

Nothing to come seems unrealistic,
Morale stabs an amorphous entity,
Horsham deem’d ‘smug,’ Oxford ‘optimistic,’
Godalming ‘defeatist,’ Ipswich ‘happy;
The battle-front
Drifts into British streets,
Prepar’d to bear the brunt of all that Berlin metes.

This is no day to save the stags,
Conscientious objector
Branded, “a rat-thing wrapp’d in rags,”
Then worse, “a bloody traitor,”
Sniff housewives sat beneath the flags,
Waiting for Herr Hitler,
Sipping weak tea, suggesting, “Bloody Huns
Are parachuting in disguis’d as nuns!”

A motivating spirit charm
Envelops Britain’s mood,
From storm comes calm, when safe from harm
World peace must be renew’d,
‘Til then they’d have to buckle down like neighbours in a feud.

Great Britain
July
1940


 

The Factory

Charlie took Patrick up Healeywood pen,
To do their bit & dig for victory,
Water’d the veg & fed each clucking hen,
“Looks like we’re ‘avin’ scambled eggs fer tea!”
The town below
Grim-chok’d in chimney haze,
“It’s busy lad, y’know, just like in th’olden days.”

Rose skivvies in the weaving sheds
On shirts fit for a soldier,
On blankets for the pilot’s beds,
On soft hats for the sailor,
On berets for the captain’s heads,
Our factory tailor
Hard-toiling, as the lasses goes to work,
To turn round those big losses down Dunkerque.

The ‘home-go’ blows, she rush’d outside,
In charcoal black-out night,
The street-lamps died, her only guide
A dicky-shine-a-light,
Lit haggard flags until her ragged door warm’d into sight.

Burnley
July 28th
1940


 

Censorship

“Brother, come out & play, before you leave
For battle!” prattling Xaver collars Khan;
Of course he went, “What glory we’ll achieve,”
Sports Khan as whizz’d they down the autobahn,
To reach the port
Beside the Western Pond,
Where sailors records brought from Britain & beyond.

With jackets flash & poise perfect
Felt they very fine indeed,
What music moved thro’ these select
Young socialites… a stampede
Of jackboots… “Our youth must reject
This filth – heroic deeds
At the front this nigger-jew jazz transcends –
When leave you Moringen go tell your friends.”

Khan Stemmler kept his cool, his calm,
Claiming them just passing,
Well did he charm, when safe from harm,
Happiness amassing,
They laugh’d & ran thro’ streetlights, their friendship unsurpassing.

Hamburg
July 31st
1940


 

Home Guard

The Battle for France is truly over,
The Battle of Britain has now begun,
Royal Air Force versus the Luftwaffe,
Her nine hundred outnumber’d three to one;
Sky-lines are drawn,
Cautious, star-cross’d fencers,
A first few flights are flown, probing for weaknesses.

Sarge hands out two rounds for practice,
That’s all the top brass could spare;
Lads, aim yer rifles straight at this
Scrawny scarecrow with straw hair…”
As man-to-man these misfits miss,
“Ya bleedin shower, there
Won’t be a second chance wi’ them Germans!”
This time that scarecrow was cut to ribbons.

Sarge shouts out, “March!” off they all sail
Into the nearest pub,
Pints of real ale, a Great War tayle
& Mrs Braithwaite’s grub,
Not looking like Britain’s front line, more like a rambler club.

Scarborough
August 1st
1940


Advertisements

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