Canto 43: Circling Ravens

Some to the war, to try their fortunes there

Shakespeare


 

Hitler Youth

Max Stemmler roar’d along the autobahn,
Palingenetic tribute to contree,
Musing upon the Battle of the Marne,
So close to gay Paris & victory!
He park’d the car,
Bear-hugg’d his eldest son,
“My boy if we must War, with you the battles won.”

Khan dined with peers clever & couth
As his malleable mind
Was bombarded with Nazi truth,
The majesty of their kind,
Carefree below the starry roof
They talk’d & laugh’d & dined,
Singing proud songs, so strong & beautiful,
Of Lebensraum & the love of battle!

They run & swim & fight & share
The life of Herr Soldier,
As mountain air rang with fanfare,
They planted Swastika
On summits for their glorious Fatherland & Fuhrer.

Harz Mountains
1935


 

Fascist March

Sensing a most depress’d & restless Rome,
If Rome, of course, the whole of Italy,
He turns the focus from his forehead’s dome
Onto paths of hypnagogic glory;
A seismic shift
Rumbles before mankind,
His anchor rais’d as drift the lamarckians, blind.

From Erit & Somalia
March’d the facinorous creed,
On ancyent Abyssinia
Like some martial millipede,
All the churches rang in Pisa
To celebrate the deed,
Go conquerors, that brave & bouyant band,
Gone marching, all, into the promis’d land.

Men hail thee, Haile Selassie!
As emperor & king,
The grand Gabbi sends Italy
A message, as they sing,
“Repulse, resist, punish, persist, them from our farmsteads fling!”

Addis Abbaba
October
1935


 

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


 

Olympic Games

The cavalcade of old Olympia
Settles its sacred flame upon Berlin,
Oer Hindenburg trails our Orphic banner,
Below, even the Juden are let in;
Majestic roar,
O scale Wagnerian!
Here modern man does war in his coliseum.

As Jesse Owen took the track
All eyes focus’d upon him,
Racism hating skin-stain black
Quadruples his vigour’s vim,
Some leaping cheetah from the crack,
The stadium grew dim,
A whirl of pounding thighs & bursting lung…
How soon, how proud, ‘Star Spangl’d Banner’ sung.

Quite disgusted grows Der Fuhrer,
This white supremacist,
Some dog-runner, some dumb nigger,
Wins medals white men miss’d…
Glanc’d at his wrist, hiss’d “I must leave…” blood trickling from clench’d fist.

Berlin
1936


 

Jewish Wedding

A carriage trundl’d thro the ribbon fog,
As tho ‘twere cushion’d in romantic myst,
The Grunfelds gather’d in their synagogue,
Speechless til Heidi & her husband kiss’d;
Tears splash the floor,
Happily wept Anna,
Joyously crying for her yofiful daughter.

The Rabbi’s household welcomes them,
Full-feasted celebration,
Moses toasts, “Shalom Alachem!”
Franz keeps faithful tradition
Stamping on glasses, cries, “Lechaim!”
To the Hebrew nation…
When into this sacred ceremony
Bursts a brash & brawling brown-shirt bully.

Worm-filthy mouth spew’d forth abuse,
Breath-stench a bottl’d beer,
“You heard the news, you filthy Jews,
No longer welcome here!”
Scatter’d platters, romance shatters, batter’d by rattl’d fear.

Frankfurt
1936


 

The Raven

From Nurnburg’s grand old Palace of Justice
To notices pinn’d at Hamburg stations,
Hitlerean antisemitismus
Forbids Jewish-Aryan relations;
In deep disgust
Jack Foley boards the train,
Such dirty devil’s dust grinding his native grain.

Within the capital aglow
Jack enters his embassy,
Plugs in his secret radio
London warns of the Graf Spree,
Contacting corrupt gestapo,
Mixt charm with bribery,
Obtaining visa-clutches for those Jews
Waiting outside his room all night in queues.

Onto a pillar by them flies
A bird to perch its flight,
With moonbright eyes, lampooning cries
He fills them all with fright,
Who watch & wonder what it brings, this thing as black as night?

Berlin
April
1937


 

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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