Canto 41: Fascist Dawn

Where there’s life there’s hope

Terence


 

Putsch

Minacious voice yelling, “Now is the time!”
Bullies into the Beurgerbraukeller,
Bemedall’d Ludendorf lending his crime
A strange respect, that dangerous fella,
Unfash’nable,
Leaps up, shooting his gun,
“Countrymen the national revolution has begun!”

While Roehm mans the Ministry
Hitler phrenzied followers
Drive enteric thro’ the city,
Trucks of singing stormtroopers,
Hear Rathaus ringing chivalry
Down Residenstrasse’s
Streets to the Odeonsplatz… in their way,
Long line of carbines straining for the fray.

“March with me men!” they step, a roar
Of angry bullets fly,
Hitting the floor, splatter’d in gore,
Bullets graze Goering’s thigh,
While Hitler scampers safely off, & left good friends to die.

Munich
1923


 

Death of Lenin

Death shadow’d the legend-life of Lenin,
That ceaseless leader-slayer of the Tsar,
Wheel’d slowly thro’ wet woods by Joe Stalin,
Who feeds him ruthless poisons coup de grace;
The man is dead,
But now the god is born,
Drap’d in the Russian red like rosy-finger’d Dawn.

As bonfires warm the freezing square
Queues trail down every side-street,
Breath funnelling the sunless air,
Patiently waiting to meet
The corpse embalm’d, his empire’s heir
Sentinel, stamping feet,
Stands gaurd oer the focus of devotion –
Before him coasted a bear-fur ocean,

To these he gestures for silence,
Voice stylish, loud & clear,
Edg’d with violence, the recompense
Of death thro him did steer,
“We shall Mother Russia great!’ for “Stalin!” thousands cheer.

Moscow
January
1924


 

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


 

Mussolini

As rivers gently drift along the glen,
Then gather speed & gallop down the falls,
Ceasar is elevated by his men,
Crosses the Rubicon, reaches Rome’s walls;
Sick government
Falls to Fascist control
Whose Black-shirts implement the sounding of his soul.

Ciano left the rush of Rome
To meet his lord & idol,
Strolling about his famous home
Beneath some crumbling castle,
Where playing in the sunswabb’d gloam
A pretty, pig-tail’d girl,
“Signori, who is she?” “My youngest child.”
“Her name?” “Edda, already she is wild!”

Il Duce donn’d his sleeping robe,
“My boy I must retire,”
Thick fingers probe the spinning globe,
Rest on his heart’s desire –
The little isle of Malta to connect his black empire.

Rocca Delle Caminale
1925


 

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


 

First Waves

Little white cloud-flake breaks a blue spring sky,
While below, in the glittering city,
Sit avant garde sipping martini dry,
The men looking good, the women pretty;
Beneath that cloud
Defeat did drifting fade;
The people laughing loud at this strange street parade.

Men joining hands, chests out-puffing,
Herr Hitler & disciples;
Hawk-ey’d Hess, gorbellied Goering,
Club-footed, dwarfish Goebells,
Himmler completes the inner-ring,
Lord of the Schutzstaffels;
Defended by the brown-shirted SA,
Sensing their time will come… but not today,

For it ends in disappointment,
Like condescending water
The party sent just three percent
From the common voter,
Above them all that little cloud transmorphs to swastika.

Berlin
May
1928


 

The Wall Street Crash

Young land of the liquer-laced razzmatazz,
Grown richer from the Big War’s victory,
Home to the silver screen & jive-cat jazz,
Flag-waving for global prosperity;
Along Wall Street
Ford motorcades whizz by,
Princeton & Yale compete for share-blocks rising high…

Whose shares, in one black instant fell,
Auguring a global doom,
Strain’d faces yelling, “Sell! Sell! Sell!”
Burst the pink bubblegum boom,
Twas like some scene from Dante’s Hell
As chaos gript the room,
& thro it all one sharp sound to derange –
The staccato click of the Stock Exchange.

“All dem good times dey be over,”
Serfs cry from shore to shore,
How ruthless the great leveller,
When Rich stoop with the Poor,
A wicked vortex sucking up currencies by the score.

New York
1929


 

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


 

Albert Einstein

Like some mad prophet this quantum guru
Destroy’d dumb Man’s concepts of time & space,
& was clever enough to sense the Jew
Must face the fury of the Master Race;
He knew full well,
Wahrscheinlichkeit’s the’ry,
Unleash’d ‘Gott in Himmel!’ Atomic energy!

Heart-skipping to the mercedes,
Arm-hugging his Yankee guest,
Mouth-speaking amidst garden trees
Of the e’er enticing West,
When wistfully Albert agrees
To leave the nuptual nest…
“When?” he furrows his Newtonian brow,
Kisses his darling wife & whispers, “now!”

With liquid eyes & drought-dry throat
One most emotive day,
Thoughts all afloat he boards a boat
Bound for the USA,
Those realms of milk & honeydew, three thousand miles away.

Antwerp
November
1932

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