Canto 5: Rubicon

There is now once more a Germany with which England must reckon as an important member of the European family of nations… let us march together, not against each other, into this new future for the benefit of our two great countries, for the benefit of Europe, for the benefit of the world
Freiherr von Reheinbaben


The Question of Versaille

Churchill lurch’d from his back-bench wilderness,
Round thick’ning neck dangl’d the Dardanelles,
Deep resonance projecting to impress
On Parliament of dire Fascist perils!
“I prophesise
That Berlin maniac
Has fool’d us to the wise, this man must soon attack!

Let us urge the world to rally
Against this cruel dictator,
How potent the deterency
If we should pool with Russia,
So let us rouse our own country,
Raise her aulden vigour,
Germany is re-arming at a pace,
We must build air fleets to stay in the race!”

The House laugh’d an indignant laugh,
Chamberlain sat him down,
The Berghof’s nettle telegraph
Pluck’d from his stately gown,
“Mister Hitler is all for peace!” cheers drown the single frown.



Nazi Party Rally

The moment Max Stemmler stept from the train
Him thrust into an echoistic sea,
Religious fervour proscribing his brain,
Heart leaping up to all the pageantry;
Bold church bells cheer,
“O lord, tis glorious!
Der Fuhrer, he is here! He has come among us!”

Neath nympholepsic fawn fanfare
& eagle-mantl’d banner,
Each dreamy, acolytic stare
Of uniform’d stormtrooper,
Paces fulgurant, flament, flair,
Figure-heads together;
Pass the Kongressbau: pulsing; hypnotic;
For the Zepp’linfeld: writhing; erotic…

…Where oratory masterful
Draws the crowd to climax,
His beautiful, triumphant will
Spits venom at the Czechs,
“Justice for the Sudetenland!” Max faints, his heart’s reflex.



Conquest of Czechoslovakia

The famous Ides of March, der Fuhrer acts,
Imperial intentioning reveal’d,
Tastebuds whetted for better Tscheschienne trachts,
He summons Hascha to the battlefield;
“Your poor country
Stands friendless & alone,
You MUST sign this decree lest we attack at dawn!”

Von Ribbentrop shaking his pen,
Goering bluffing for the pot,
Hascha dog-hounded round the den,
His temp’rament tired & hot,
He faints, but is reviv’d again
By Morrel’s morphine shot…
Thus, half adream, in the first flush of day,
This broken spine his country signs away.

Hitler climbs the Mala Strana,
Ocean of swastikas;
Bohemia, Moravia,
His newest provinces,
Gladly kingleading Germany’s rejuvenescenses.




And so, Good-bye, grim ‘Thirties. These your closing days
Have shown a new light, motionless & far
And clear as ice, to our sore riddled eyes:
David Gascoyne

As distant peals of thunder drew closer,
About the Kehlsteinhaus tough Zephyrs swirl’d,
No wonder, here, delusions of grandeur,
An eagle’s nest perch’d high atop the world;
Whose lord commands
They’ll drive below the snow,
Wringing his clammy hands, singing, “Bring on the foe!”

“I reckon world needs sortin out!”
Says good ol’ Charlie Sumner,
Sipping a thick, black pint of stout,
Sat in ‘tat room o’ Mitre,
“Gerrys fer feyting, ‘ave no doubt,
It sez so in paper…”
We must finish off Nazis fer them Jews.”
“Aye!” sniff’d the barman, “& we’d best not lose!”

Pierre embraced his sweetheart’s glow,
Kissing her salty cheek,
“Alas, I go to Maginot,
Shed no tears Veronique,
Ah! Partir c’est mourir un peu…” she wept but would not speak.

August 24th


& Wars Begin

Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth
WH Auden

Dawn’s grey warning creeps cross the Baltic Sea,
A silhouette slow forming on the line,
Rough broadsides disturb the serenity,
Belching from Krupps of the Schleswig-Holstein;
Each solemn thud,
Peppers the Polish shore,
Earth shatters, scatters mud – the first shots of the war!

The Reichstag sit, silent, subdued,
Observing their leader jeer,
“The Polish race, backward & crude,
Violates our dear frontier!
Bombs shall meet bombs in bitter feud,
Your first captain stands here –
In ‘fourteen I offer’d my dying breath,
I don my coat ‘til victory or death!

If England dares to test our might
In battle once again,
Then let us fight, our Eagle’s flight
Surpasses her fat hen,
We all the way shall war, be it a single year or ten!”

Sept 1st


Diplomatic Formalities

A telegram left the lap of London,
Bound for a distant British embassy,
Whose ambassador, thou suave Henderson,
Delivers to the Reich-chancellery;
At daggers drawn
With sly Von Ribbentrop,
Voice rugged as the stone found on the Spion Kop,

“I have the honour to relate
A note from his Majesty’s
Court… if Germany acts too late
In giving assurances
To withdraw from Poland, War’s state
Exists twixt our contrees…
You have until eleven to decide!”
Von Ribbentrop slithers to Hitler’s side,

There transfers the ultimatum
(His hands had dug the hole),
Hitler struck dumb, “Then war hast come,
England has serv’d the ball!”
Goering whispers, “If we lose this War, Lord God help us all!”

September 3rd


A New War

I have seen much to hate here – much to forgive,
But in a world where England is finished & dead,
I do not whish to live
Alice Duer Miller

The Sumner clan gathers round a wireless,
Rose fiddles nervous with ‘er wedding ring,
“Kids shhhhh!” sez Charlie, “This is serious!”
The crackling voice of their stammering king
Grave parley spoke,
An old sensation grew,
The bane of common folk, their worst fears turning true.

Freda strokes Gem, her jet black cat,
Gazed up at Hargher Chimney,
Saw ‘er grandson in an ‘ard hat
Motoring across the sea,
“Y’know ah Pat’ll be in that…”
“Don’t bi daft!” sez Charlie,
“It’ll all bi over bi Christmas grub!”
He took ‘is eldest down ter Rosegrove Club;

As cue-ball crack sank winning black,
Well son, what will it be?”
“I think…” voice slack, “Speak up our Jack.”
“…Mebbe Merchant Navy.”
“Good choice lad, nah sup up, gotta get gas mask
fer baby.”

September 3rd


The Agony of Poland

Most monstrously mechanized juggernaut,
Pouring in endless torrents from the West,
Seizes maladroit forces by the throat –
The Blitzkreig theorum passes first test;
All Warsaw prays,
Surrounded by the foe,
Still proud her anthem plays on ev’ry radio.

Hitler steers his half-track rumble
Thro’ the war-torn countryside,
Brandishing a single pistol,
& whip of harden’d oxhide,
His finest aide-de-camp, Rommel,
Makes studies by his side –
But coming on that first hospital train,
Refused to see his soldiers suff’ring pain.

They drove on thro’ the ghostly fog
Raking that rathole town,
A pining dog, a synagogue
Charr’d black from burning down,
Where perch’d a crow, it’s beady, yellow eyes now fleck’d with brown.

September 8th



Sue caught the child-pack’d coach out of Poplar,
Such sadnesses sends tear-trachts swelling up,
Now the high-pitch’ d crowds at Victoria
Heaving like when the Arsenal won the cup;
She joined the rest,
Sobbing sweet maternals,
Prised from the suckling breast, both her little angels.

Onto a squealing train they hop,
Press noses to the windows,
Bursting young lungs at every stop,
Giggles as the whistle blows,
Down gulping sandwiches & pop,
Come Buxton’s fun repose
They saw a fresian real the first fun time,
Moo-moo?” Mavis cuts short her nurs’ry rhyme.

As tall tower lights up faces,
As sea-gulls sqawk thro’ air,
Wee suitcases claimed by strangers,
We’ll take the young lass there,”
Yelps Kenny; “No, mi mummy meant us two come as a pair!”

September 5th


Canto 6: Dunkirk

Some to the wars, to try their fortunes there


This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
Henry Reed

What happy breed of men cheer’d off to war;
Geordie, Scouser, Taffy, Scot & Cockney –
Shepherded yon the Cornubian shore
By Captains of His Highnesses Navy;
Unfit to fight
First-class modern conflict,
Like Agricola’s might stormdashing naked Pict.

They sail’d around Amorica,
Dodging periscopic glare,
We’ll hang out our washing on the
Siegfried line!” flits thro’ the air,
Human paraphernalia
Landing at Saint Nazaire –
Where vital lines of communication
Criss-cross precious strings afloss a nation.

Tommy Sumner fingers the dust
Coating the farmhouse grey,
Bland ketchup must, bayonet rust,
Hand grenades & Nestle
Spoke volumes while invoking occupants of yesterday.

September 13th


Lancashire’s Finest

And we stretched out, unbuttoning our braces,
Smoking a Woodbine, darning dirty socks,
Reading the Sunday papers – I saw a fox
Alun Lewis

To Belgium’s border order’d the East Lancs,
The one word whisper’d in the mess was, “when?”
Amidst the chassis of Matilda tanks,
Captain Andrews reviews his tawny men;
Such hardy bunch
From Pendle’s rugged vale,
When coming to the crunch he knew his lads wunt fail.

Picking their spades up after tea,
Some small subsidence to mend,
Tom Sumner swivels to Billy,
His baby-faced schoolboy friend,
“All this diggin’ is plain silly,
These lines we shan’t defend,
As soon as Gerry turns himself hostile
We’ll leave these bloody trenches for the Dyle!”

They dug awhile & watch’d the sun
Conclude ephemeral,
The digging done, jigging his gun,
Tommy foresaw battle,
“There’s summat funny goin’ on… t’night… I sense trouble.”

St Amand-les-Eux
May 9th



The moon’s rays shiver in the branches.
Forest dark. Silence. Dug-outs.
How wonderful May nights are!
Georgii Suvorov

The racist faces the decadent West,
Spermatic as the coming of the Spring,
When leafy woods are at their loveliest,
& bowers vibrate with the blossoming,
When golden streams
Sol sends set on the scene,
When gorgeous glinting beams rebound off each machine.

Hitler boards the Amerika,
Under stars he trundles west,
Stirring strains of his dear Wagner
Lull him to a good hours rest,
Whirrs time by… train reaches bunker,
His bomb-proof Felsennest…
Praying before purpuric bloodshed starts,
“O God of Battles steel my soldier’s hearts!”

Facing the tranquil occident,
Rommel reclines with wines,
Cool, calm, content; his regiment
Should thunder thro’ the lines,
Flicking thro’ Sun Tzu, Von Clauswic & Charles DeGaulle’s opines.

May 10th



Under the white flag as he advanced
They say he stood bravely, never winced
As the first bullet pierced his lungs
Ruthven Todd

Aft shouts of war the shafts begin to fly,
No longer men must idle day-long days,
The sun was barely half-an-hour high
& all the Lowland Borders were ablaze;
Rushes across the sea,
The crooked Swastika denuding majesty.

Rules rewrit for modern warfare;
First possess total surprise,
Then wholly dominate the air;
Thro’ th’Ardennes a phalanx flies,
Cheval-de-frise embatter’d bare
Beneath the Stuka skies,
‘Rev–Rev–Rev,’ three lines of polish’d Panzer,
Wait as if with Nelson off Trafalgar.

King Leopold laments the end
Of proud neutrality,
Forced to defend, his German ‘friend’
Is ravaging freely –
Men learn from history they’ve nothing learn’d from history.

May 10th


Britain Stirs

Now over the map that took ten million years
Of rain and sun to crust like boiler-slag,
The lines of fighting men progress like caterpillars
Louis Macneice

German Arms form an arm-like corridor,
Fist punching up thro’ Flanders to the coast,
Not wheel’d to Paris, as lost Bismarck’s War,
Tho’ given up is Galleini’s ghost;
Spirit thought fled
Seizes the Cinque ports,
The ghoul-songs of the dead blew thro’ abandon’d forts.

Adm’ral Ramsey climb’d Henry’s keep,
With a Nelsonian stance,
Gazes across the hoary deep
To the distant dark of France,
Where brave embattl’d Britons heap
Slim chips upon one chance…
Slipping back to Blighty via Dunkerque…
It’s crazy, but I’ve got to make it work!”

For once the British do not reel
Before the German gale,
From Grand Fort Phillipe, down to Lille,
Let fresh defence prevail,
From now each deep, bloodletted inch be fought for tooth & nail.

May 27th



Panic grips the fabl’d British army,
Her soldiers splinter’d into shatter’d shards,
Her wounded bench’d to face the enemy,
Her bodies rotting, her ordnance scrap-yards;
But for one lot,
Led by Ervine Andrews,
Whose pure Parthian shot let loose tho’ they must lose.

In soft barnthatch did Tommy ‘ide,
Wi’ captain & five more men,
Beneath them fifteen Germans died
(& they’d do ‘em all again),
Two poor survivors fled outside
Raw-scalp’d by Billy’s bren;
“Let’s scarper boys!” young lads fleshly blooded
Wade thro’ Flanders wide fields freshly flooded.

By dune collars up piles the kit,
“Lads, looks just like Lytham!”
A Messerschmit swoops down, to spit
Death’s teeth, O hangman’s drum,
Then inland hangs… they brush off sand, “Yer don’t get them on prom!”

May 30th


Air Support

At Dunkirk I
Rolled in the shallows, and the living trod
Aross me for a bridge
Sidney Keyes

As chaplain preach’d to them on bended knee,
His prayers tumbl’d out from parching lips;
Men-laden craft crept slowly out to sea,
In hopeful silence bobb’d those lidded ships;
Firm officers
Check’d chaos with their guns,
“Form a queue you blighters, I’ll shoot each swine that runs!”

Shark’s Head in swinking triumph rolls,
Its jubilant pilot gloats
At two rickety, wooden moles,
Those pathetic little boats,
Those cold, exhausted, starving souls,
Grasping for filth that floats;
“How long until Der Fuhrer will prevail?”
He spies a goofy bird upon his tail…

…The labours late-night of boffins
This new ‘Spitfire’ deploys,
Messerschmitt spins… wings dorsal fins…
Pack’d beaches burst in noise;
“‘’Bout bleedin’ time!” screams Tommy, “three cheers for the Brylcreem Boys!”

May 31st


The French at the Evacuation

Only Lille deserves the honour of France,
Endures a losing battle to the end,
La Garde in front of La Belle Alliance
Would have been glad to frame these soldats ‘friend’;
Full fierce they fought
Like rigid rocks of Rome,
& ev’ry second bought some son sends safely home.

After many an adventure
Two poilus find safety’s grace,
Howling bagpipes call to muster
Bearded dregs of English race,
Out of copious wine cellar,
Fell some drunken disgrace;
Together they all stagger thro’ the night,
The last few boats for Dover to alight.

Boarding the pack’d Saint Helier
Henri slips, then falls &
Screams out, “Pierre!” soon oil-slick hair
& lone, ring-finger’d hand
Are gone, leaving no trace but shallow footsteps in the sand.

June 2nd


Echoes of Defeat

One dissarrange’d sending of French soldiers,
Stretches to breaking point both boat & crew,
Alas, as rear guard reaches the beaches,
Crass shrieks of British perfidy ensue;
They’d fought to save
Those footsteps in the sand,
Them gone across the wave, gone to the promis’d land.

“…the odious apparatus
Of the Nazi privateers
We shall fight on fields & beaches,
Offer I: blood, sweat & tears,
If the empire of the English
Should last a thousand years,
Then let men say this was her finest hour!”
Churchill’s balsam plants Pendragon power.

The floating corpse of poor LeGrand
Wash’d up close by Calais,
Above, huge band of gen’rals stand,
Bedeck’d in sylvan grey,
Viewing those cliffs… pecking the waves, an eagle surfing spray.

June 4th

Canto 7: Evolutions

To delight in conquest is to delight in slaughter

Enter Italia

Despite to time his trains not yet do run,
Il Duce defines Italy’s attack,
The ancyent doors of Janus toss’d open,
Jabbing a dagger in the Gallic back;
As Axis host
Swells two birds in one hand,
Spears pierce the Afric coast like cacti roughs up sand.

With Hitler nigh victorious,
Rises martial parasite,
Mussolini, ‘vainglorious,’
Best Alpini sends to fight,
Round snow-caps & ice crevices,
Far from Agrippa’s might,
Millennia diluted has 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.

June 11th


France’s Ignominy

How they fought on the field of Alesia!
How they conquer’d crowns with Napoleon!
How they endured the seige of the Kaiser!
How they bled at the bloodbath of Verdun!
Thro’ Paris flares
Peaceful fait acomplit,
Ominouscent declares theirs was open city.

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

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

June 17th



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’ wash’d hair, so good to get away.

East Croydon first, then Three Bridges,
Plouhshar’d scenery serene,
Rusted bangers building hedges,
Signposts nowhere to be seen,
At Brighton hops she on a bus,
Winding to Rottingdean,
To stretch tired limbs on pebbledashing sand,
“I’m sorry, lav, civilians are bann’d!

We’ll mine the beach this week,” he said,”
Sue stood up, brush’d down skirt,
Her pretty head was full of dread
Building to full alert,
temper’d by thoughts her little ones were safe from hate & hurt.

June 21st



Clear as crystal in his reminiscence,
The world-historical adventurer
Tours poppy fields; here was youth’s full vibrance
Expended as lowly despatch runner;
“How good & true
Our sacrifice now seems!”
He sighs, while driven thro’ the city of his dreams.

Embedded in his consciousness
Were the palaces & rues,
The operatic spaciousness
Ev’ry artist soul imbues,
Electrical 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 wond’rous, let us make fair Berlin more!”

June 23rd


Vital Days

With swastikas hanging from Brandenburg,
Hitler back-skulks his Reichschancellery,
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,
Our 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
Crowns for Gods of Battle,
Like laurel leaves – as moment heaves,
Glory swells Goering’s skull,
His baton must be kingsize… with ivory enamel.

July 19th

Dunkerque Spirit

This name shall be the symbol for the soul,
A new Promethean triumph in defeat,
And find its place in the historic scroll
EJ Pratt

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 shall be renew’d,
‘Til then they’d have to buckle down like neighbours in a feud.

Great Britain


The Factory

Charlie took Patrick up Healeywood pen,
To do their bit & dig for victory,
Water’d the veg, sparse 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 pilots’ 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 around 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.

July 28th



“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 up the autobahn,
Reaching great 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 deed –
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 ran,  giggling  ‘neath streetlights, in friendship unsurpassing.

July 31st


Home Guard

We got a tank-trap too, y’know,
though I cain’t tell ‘e where t’ go
T’zee arr zecret, long an’ wooden
Beau Parke

The Battle for France is truly over,
The Battle of Britain has now begun,
The Royal Air Force versus Luftwaffe,
Her nine hundred outnumber’d three to one;
Vague Sky-lines drawn,
Cautious, star-cross’d fencers,
A first few flights are flown, nose-probing 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 his misfits miss,
“Ya bleedin shower, there
Won’t be a second chance wi’ them Germans!”
This time that scarecrow cut into ribbons.

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

August 1st

Canto 8: Battle of Britain

God of our fathers, what is man!
That thou towards him with hand so various…
Temper’st thy providence through his short cause
John Milton



Black Bentley slinks thro’ Royal Tunbridge Wells,
Crunching begravell’d roads to Calverly,
At Four A.M, punctual as hotels,
Into dark morning’s ill-lit mystery
Out steps Dowding,
Man at the Air Force helm,
Appointment by the King, ‘Defender of the Realm.’

‘Sir,’ was chauffer’d to the centre
Of his Operations room,
“Morning girls, what news the weather?”
“Clear from Deal to Ilfracoombe!”
Cathode BLIPS were growing louder
Bulbs scarletting the gloom,
Models traverse imaginary air,
The stick-work of a master croupier.

“…forty… sixty… eighty… & more
Bandits fast approaching
The Southern shore…” with clammy claw
Pluck’d thistle struck Dowding,
“Send five squadrons to intercept,” his ties unloosening.

Biggin Hill
August 13th


Royal Air Force

Crackling speakers announce men to their fate,
The summonstir to scramble & to fly!
“Queen to Bishop seven… that’s check & mate!”
Squeals Ginger up to Squadron-Leader Bligh,
From “Tally ho!”
To cruising thro’ blue skies,
With bold “Bandits below!” they swoop to scoop a prize.

“…in the field of human conflict
Have so many owed so much
To so few!” O how hearts were prick’d
By Churchill’s Tyrtaean touch,
“You know, Nigel, we shan’t be lick’d!”
Both of their spirits such
They crave the day, & that day’s victory,
As if they wait for Spain off Tilbury.

Bligh conducts a daisy-cutter,
Keen to renew the fray,
No time to dine, a swift woodbine,
“A wizard show today!”
The ground crew shout, “She’s ready Nige!” to cockpit, “Chocks away!”

August 15th


Bombing the Reich

They watch’d the wonder of the Milky Way,
Where Phaeton’s crashing chariot did scorch
A splash of stars awash with Hera’s spray,
Like glitter in the trail of Luna’s torch;
As mondenschein
Silvers the cloudy seas,
Wings steely aquiline float on propeller breeze.

Xaver basks in chic revelrie,
Infesting the late night bars,
Vesta’s disturb’d tranquility
As the sirens sound for Mars,
Flak throws up bright hostility
Where searchlights sweep the stars…
“O what disgraceful form of War to wage!”
Storm sleep-robb’d about shelters in a rage.

She crawls outside to count the cost,
Picks up the sky-pamphlet,
The War is lost while you are boss’d
By Hitler’s cabinet!”
“Now they have started something!” “Der Fuhrer shall finish it!”

August 28th


The Blitz

In fight for life found class distinction fades,
dying never showed a discriminating face:
serge or barathea alike to Hun or death
Peter Fahy


The scales are tilting from Fighter Command,
Real, empty seats at meal-times ev’ry day,
How terrible the strain upon that band,
Then here they come again, the cross & grey!
Twelve hundred planes
In eight-square miles of sky,
Bringing still-burning rains to churn the old Thames dry.

At the exposed heart of Empire
Has the world curtail’d all sense?
Sirens squeal & children cry a
Lament for lost innocence,
Mason’ry crumbles into fire,
Here Andersson’s defence
Lies mangl’d in a corrugated heap,
Beside the mess charr’d infants seem asleep.

The half-lights shine beneath the ground
On tunnels & platforms,
Tho’ songs abound sleep passes round
These snoozy, fidget dorms
Of whiskey, fags, soft sneaky shags & hopes for lonely homes.

Kings Cross


Death of Sue Johnstone

Altho’ night fell the pigeon flocks took flight,
Docks shining with an eerie daytime glow,
Upspurting flames, the stark stench of cordite,
Those flailing falling rafters row-on-row;
Above them all
Those gutsy men still came,
Relentless to their goal, that capital aflame.

Beyond the bonnie estu’ry
& its looping curvatures,
Each anti-aircraft battery
Pointed accusing fingers,
A bubbling, peasoup cemet’ry,
Devilish defences,
A lottery, but at thy number’s root,
You’d better bag yersel’ a parachute!

Her blazing staircase made her freeze,
The wailing flames arrive,
Upon her knees, thro’ smoke-full wheeze,
“At least the kids survive!”
Clutching slow-melting teddy bears a young mum burnt alive.

September 16th


Battle of Britain

Paladin Goering hurls his armada
Currying English airmen to demise,
Another Phlegra, another Zama,
Unfurling upon frail, blue meadow skies;
“Now is the time!”
Ring-fingers fist a THWACK!
From Cherbourg to Trondheim the Luftflotten attack.

Nigh on ev’ry plane was scrambl’d
As the bloody crux was fed,
What battle royale entangl’d
Thro’ the smoky swirl-skies spread,
When the fate of Britain dangl’d
On such a slender thread?
“Unless this loss of pilots soonest staunch’d,
Tomorrow must see the invasion launch’d.

Christ-blood streams from a crucifix
Rain’s onto streets aflame,
Firedrake antics, like sixty-six,
But this time Lady Dame
Shone brilliant defiance as wave after wan wave came.

September 15th


Bligh’s Capture

There is a heat at the heart of battle
Which only the heroical may bare,
Molder’s aim unlooses brutish rattle,
Sends Ginger smithereening into air;
Life-scything cry
Peals from that pilot’s end,
Poor Squadron-Leader Bligh has lost his perfect friend,

So fell upon the Major’s tail
A bleak, red mist descending,
Lets off such lethal eight-gun hail,
It seem’d t’were never-ending,
Such rages yet condemned to fail
‘Gin such skilful wending…
For in pursuit of vengeance being blind
His native shores of safety left behind.

Some sharp-eyed coastal battery
Hath clipp’d the wings off Bligh,
His chute <THWACKS> free, proclivity
Drifts slowly thro’ the sky,
Down to field-waiting muzzles with a bitter-season’d sigh

September 19th


The Living Blitz

As sirens fire, up to his office roof,
For visions halieutic Norman climbs,
He’d lost too much at cards, so rose aloof
From crude & clutter’d fleshpits of these times;
As was his right,
Special immunity,
Felt he, death’s chances sleightest in the vast city.

Perusing London’s ‘Bright Young Things,’
Play ‘No Man’s Land’ twyx dances,
Sense-numbing battle slowly brings
Growing insouciances,
Borne stubborn by phlegmatic wings,
Tea-time in the manses,
As all, through the capital panoply,
Grew calm, as sleep panope in the sea.

“We share such bloodymindedness,
If Hitler thinks we’ll crack,
He’ll find in us the kind that does
Not kowtow to attack,”
Thought Norman as a cautious chauffer roll’d into the back.

September 26th


Destiny of War

Refraining from his guttaral bombast
Hitler convers’d calmly over luncheon,
“The season for a sea-invasion pass’d,
We continue the bombing of London…”
Such sad truth aired,
“This war now beckons long,
Tho’ unfully prepared our will shall prove too strong.”

“England” spoke thwarted conqueror,
Cousins willing to admire,
Has subjugated India
With far superior fire,
Her Raj precursoring Russia…
But… her global empire
Must be destroy’d when all the fighting ends,
When all I wanted was to be their friends.”

“Russia!?” says Hess in stark surprise,
“Why yes, it has to be!”
Divining eyes gaze to the skies,
Our one true enemy,
Whose rabbits must be swiftly slain or chain’d in slavery.”



Canto 9: Manoeuvrings

What trouble is beyond the rage of man?
What heavy burden will he not endure?
Jealousy, faction, quarelling, & battle,
The bloodiness of war, the grief of war.

A New Rome

The Generalissimo took supper,
Settl’d in his leather with Chianti,
Imagining sat with Calphurnia
Discussing tribal Gaul’s hostility;
His brilliance
Unecho’d in the field,
Valletta’s fine defence offers the meagre yield.

Churchill builds strength in wily stealth –
East of Cyrenaica
The pieces of the Commonwealth
Force Egypt’s ancyent border,
In fiery line & perfect health
To claim an Uttica –
When Italy’s panic-stricken warbands
Flee Bardia & dune-sunk, lunar sands.

Pride-swallowing Mussolini
‘Neath Hitler’s stern voice squirms,
“Fuhrer! help me! my grand army
Rack’d with retreat & worms!”
“Of course, my friend, but in the end it must be on my terms.”



Churchill’s Stoicism

Those fairy-lights which grace Piccadilly
Each Christmas are, this year, black’d-out bomb-rough,
Who’d have thought that war could raze a city,
The shape of things to come comes soon enough;
Up Churchill rose,
In him all hope intern’d,
Thro’ him resistance flows, thro’ him the worm has turn’d.

Aft breaking fast with steak & wine,
He inspects old London town,
Whose passage clapping people line,
A rallying, “Are we down?”
On all sides, “NO!” “We shall be fine!”
“God bless King George’s crown!”
“Whatever Goering hurls us from the air,
We’d rather die in London than despair!”

P.M. returns to pens & lamp,
Still sirens stretch & roar,
The shelter damp, an aide-de-camp
Asks how they’ll win the war,
“Fight on & hope America walks thro’ our open door.”

December 10th

A Daring Escape

“I must away into the big wide world!”
Sang survivors of the down’d Luftwaffe,
Beyond the wire the last soil layers curl’d,
Uncorking Oberleutnant Von Werra;
Fellow escapers
He bids auf weidershein,
Then offs for fresh capers, to steal himself a plane.

Brassy bold down the police station,
“Sir, my name is Captain Van Lott,
I’ve crash-landed my Wellington,
Another plane must be got…”
To an airbase promptly driven,
Suspicions grew awfully hot,
“I’ll check your credentials with Aberdeen,
There’s a war on you know…” Werra, unseen,

Slips thro’ the toilet window slick,
Sprints to a Hurricane,
Whose mechanic flicks engine’s tick,
Its pilot mounts the plane
“Get out!” the Duty officer’s aimed pistol halts the train.

RAF Hucknall
December 20th

Death of Eleanor Stemmler

“I’m delighted to tell you Frau Stemmler
A sanatorium has been founded
With facilities to help your daughter…”
“They will take good care of my beloved?”
“I’m sure they will,
All prospects beckon fine,
Now if you could just fill these forms in & then sign…”

Eleanor enter’d the abbey,
Breathing air quite crisp & clean,
Hippocratic morality
Sacrificed to cleanse the gene,
Guaranteeing supremacy,
Small matter of hygiene –
When feeble-minded deem’d unfit to live
By eugenists no doctor could forgive.

She went out her for a country ride
With excited patients,
Cool monoxide hard pump’d inside,
When closed the precious vents,
She died crying, “Momma!” desp’rate fingers scraping dents.

Christmas Day

A Second Daring Escape

Train scythes thro’ Canada’s Arctic semblance,
Its German imates clamouring for ‘go,’
Persistence pays, Von Werra sees his chance,
Knocks black bars out, dives head-first into snow;
Such moments come
For those who dare be bold –
The frail breath of freedom turns misty in the cold.

Trekking thro’ freezing wilderness,
Warm’d by determination,
Light-twinklings his endeavours bless,
From the banks American,
The long Saint Lawrence thaws her dress,
Channels ‘tween ice floes run;
A rowing boat stolen, lacking an oar,
Now set out drifting for the safer shore.

Footfall… to some old folk he drew,
“Is this Amerika?”
“Why yes, but who the hell are you?”
“I am an officer
Of the German Air Force… I am… I was a prisoner!”

January 24th


Desert Fox

As Rommel took first steps on Afric sand,
All about servants of the fiasco
Load ships, evacuation was at hand,
Arms strewn as if by Trasimene’s flow;
He cocks his cap
Thigh-cracks a riding whip,
“Someone get me a map, I want to take a trip.”

His plane flew lofty on the tour
Of simmering hot Syrte,
Sang some nomadic troubadour,
“What beauty & how ghastly!”
Italians straggling the shore
Yon mud-baked Benghazi,
With British flags proud flying everywhere,
“We shall build our fresh defences down there!”

Between palm-leaf lined boulevards
Parades the Werhmacht grey,
Like picture-cards, ev’ry ten yards
& what a hand to play,
When his aces, the Panzers, have arrived to join the fray.

February 14th


Family Tradition

Bruce Slater struggled with the tractor key,
His right arm nigh useless without a hand
Whose bones lie pick’d clean at Gallipoli,
Buried up Anzac Cove, under its sand;
Then came on his
Son Shane with feisty spring,
“Pop, back down in Alice, the army’s recruiting!”

Tough silence overcame the scene,
Roughly broken by Bruce spit,
Altho’ these moments long foreseen,
His Heart-strings still twinge a fit
& tho’ his barely barely nineteen,
“Go son, go do your bit!”
Shane whoop’d with joy, hugg’d his tann’d father,
That night they tuck’d in the Bush together.

The fire crackles as the stars
Lights sprinkle thro’ the murk,
They talk of wars, Bruce shows the scars
Inflicted by the Turk…
“Son, soldiery is one days fighting for five weeks of work.”

Northern Territory


The Axis

Von Ribbentrop receiv’d Matsuoka
At Fuschl, gatehouse of the grand Alpine,
The war is won,” stated over dinner,
“Strike now & English empire’s your goldmine!”
On Berghof peak
Hitler waited calmly,
“This moment scores unique in all of history!”

They found him in a warlike mood
& Spring’s rejuvenation,
“Brother, when battle is renew’d
This won war will be well won,
When if ye act upon thy feud
With Rooseveldt’s nation,
I promise thee Germany shall assist,
& smash those Allies with our Axis fist.”

A gasping captain makes him jolt,
& Matsuoka smile,
A lightning bolt, “The Serbs revolt,”
A demon spits its bile,
“Then we shall bathe their babes in blood & burning corpses pile.”



Birth & Death of Brian Davies

How joyous when a newborn cries its first
Now sucking glibly on its mother’s teat,
His father’s swelling pride in bells shall burst,
Life understanding life ne’er seem’d more sweet;
Wild sirens sound,
Death soars in from abroad,
Bombs battering the ground along the old Mill Road.

What did you think of life, my child,
Before that bad bomb’s striking?
Thy little ward all whitely tiled
I hope was to thy liking,
Murmurs of conversation mild
Spear’d by tearful scriking,
With that warm milk you seem’d to quite enjoy
For those few minutes, you & Lawrence Foy.

“Ee-ya, la! They’ve bomb’d nan’s chip-shop!”
“Bloody, bastard fokkers!”
Kill-spheres still drop, caught on the hop,
Huskisson’s poor dockers,
But most of all slain babies names remain e’ermore to shock us.

May 4th

Canto 10: Barbarossa

With the same spirit which governs our actions at home
We wish to establish our relations abroad
Adolf Hitler


Fog of War

Stalin tosses his despatch into fire,
“Hitler prepares invasion, screams London,
They only want to plunge us in their mire!”
Molotov reads a note from Washington;
The twenty third…”
“When will this nonsense end?
Attacking is absurd, Herr Hitler is our friend!”

Good company kept Khan Stemmler
For the conquest yet to come,
Singing songs all thro’ Silesia
Of Moscow & Lebensraum,
Bearing the blessed Swastika
Hung upon labarum,
A battle-banner beaming & unfurl’d,
Full flying to defend the Western world.

By frontier gaurds rolls a freight train,
Honouring the treaty,
Loaded with grain from the Ukraine,
Unaware completely
Watching it trundle by them some stormtrooper company!

June 21st


Diplomatic Breakdown

Gunflash invigorates the Eastern dawn
& onset marks of dark Barbarossa,
A thousand miles of battle-lines are drawn,
Scale dwarfing the grandstanding of Wagner;
Molotov hears
A hammer at his door,
What arrogance appears? The Reich Ambassador!

“…acts of Russian terrorism
We shall force to pay the cost,
Our rapport with communism
Is sadly forever lost,
Due to Jewish bolshevism
The Nieman hath been cross’d!”
A flabberghasted laugh… a look… a pause…
“& so, at war, our country is with yours.”

A flapping fish caught in a net,
Molotov moved closer,
“Our armies et to meet your threat,”
We shall see… Heil Hitler!”
A click of heels & strutting out Earth’s fate changed forever.

June 22nd


The Agony of France

All Gaul welcomes the Nazi supermen,
Preferring peace unto resistant pain,
Yet still, rare alters midst occupation
Bare, secretly, the cross of lost Lorraine;
Shining spirit
Of old Ambriorix
Repugnant in the spit of one imperatrix.

“Nazi batardes!” Veronique curs’d,
Stubbing out her cigarette,
“They rape our country & what’s worse
Les cochons fou raped Annette!
Somebody has to be the first
To challenge such mind-set,
We must form an arm’d group for resistance!”
“Domain…reviens dormir,” whispers Constance.

Slippin’ grace’fly to her lover,
Tongue-probing lust to share,
Under cover, like a glove her
Man thrust his must down there,
Where tho’ her panting sweet still did she long for dear Pierre.



Endless Leagues

An explosion – & a friend dies.
And so death passes you by this time.
Next it will be my turn
Semen Gudzenko


Scenery steam’d in sepianic sheen,
Battles of manic annhialation,
The greatest march the world has ever seen,
With it comes its greatest devastation;
Each Kesselschact
Tannenburg remembers,
Admonish’d pockets pack’d with desp’rate prisoners.

Some megalithic Tsunami
Breaks oer the shores of Asia,
Its spearheads roll relentlessly
Across Pomenaria
Sweeping Ukraine to the Black Sea –
Pitiful defender
Builds his bastions from friable glass,
Crush’d effortlessly as the Panzers pass.

The granges growing less & less,
All round the brown steppes band,
Vast & endless, vapid, friendless,
Idaho feindesland –
Stalin’s colossal empire in the palm of Hitler’s hand.



Death Squad

Buscher flavours mincemeat work with relish,
Hunts down the local Party Kommissar,
Whips him, strips him, rips him like a catfish,
Aufklawrong face of burglarizing War;
Penn’d in Juden
Made sad, Schutzstaffel slaves,
“Follow me you vermin, we go to dig your graves!”

Nazi bestiality pours
Oer conquer’d territory,
Sanguinarius Quaesitors –
Einsatzgruppen – kill for glee,
Clipboards notch numbers for the cause
Quite meticulously,
Impressing Himmler with the murder’s pace,
“I must observe a mass shooting take place.”

The bullets whizz, his shoe-shine spit
Splatters with blood & brain;
Edge of death-pit, close to vomit,
The dying squirm in pain,
“These methods are too crude… we must use something more humane.”

August 15th




Buscher rode to the gorge at Babi-Yar,
Black conduit to extermination,
Stripping Jewesses of dress, slip & bra,
He lined them in naked degradation;
Life’s last moments
Wailing in extremis,
Machine gunner opens, delivering death’s kiss.

He rode thro’ warm, Autumnal rain
To a solemn city square,
Men strung up in a greivous pain
Did dance short-time upon the air,
Near them Dosia waits in train,
Voluptuous & fair…
Buscher trots slowly all along her line,
Dismisses the rest, “This one shall be mine…

…Send her to my house in Bremen!”
Beady eyes undress her;
Young Konstantin boil’d up within,
Sprinted home to Mother,
With tear-streak’d eyes he splurted out, “They have stolen sister!”




Striding relentlessly Der Fuhrer breaks
The shackles of his vaulting ambition,
Drunk on stunning success he calmly makes
A crucial & game-changing decision;
“First we shall throw
A cloak round Leningrad
&, ignoring Moscow, swing south to Stalingrad.”

Map after map mural’d the walls
With all of his massive gains,
Whose obsequious generals
Wet as otters in the rains,
“We must mount, soon, the broad Urals,”
Their supreme chief explains,
“& with my duty to this world complete
This world shall ever tremble at the feat.”

Stood representing each army
A six-inch swastika,
From which sat free the Czar’s city,
“For that peasant Mecca,
Let her vanish from Earth’s face, berseigtigen forever.”

Wolf’s Lair
September 9th


Imperial Japan

Sit amidst the shuku-kei of Basho,
Nibbling upon delectable sushi,
Observe a most engrossing game of Go,
Cherubim up-topping cups of Saki;
Scenting Septembral air,
Gorgeous rainbow pom-poms in riot ev’rywhere.

In their casual Wafuku
War seems very far away,
Geisha passes round rich tofu,
“What of Britain?” she did say,
“Her empire sickly thro’ & thro’,
They won’t survive the fray…”
“True Kido-San,” said Basho, “but, for me,
America our one true enemy…

Such crude embargo set in place,
Forbidden to buy oil,
We feel disgrace, that haughty race
Has set my blood aboil!
Friends! we must win an empire their machinations to foil.”



A Letter Home

Nine torrid months finds Lina’s mind a-whirl,
Still grieving for the loss of her daughter,
“She always seem’d a fit & healthy girl,
How she could have died of pneumonia?”
“My darling wife,
We must give up her ghost,”
Fresh toast & butter knife… Friedrich fetch’d in the post.

“Papa, this is Khan’s handwriting!”
Max snatch’d at his son’s hand,
Tensions delay’d the opening,
Too few contents too soon scann’d,
“All is well! But he is missing,
Mama, his food so bland…
Ev’rywhere the army victorious…
He’ll be home, he is sure, before Christmas!”

“The proudest I have ever been,
My boy he is so brave!”
Xaver’s eye-sheen films with dark green,
Affections he did crave,
So rush’d to join the U-boat arm, for action & the wave.


Canto 11: War Wounds

The soldiers fight & the kings are heroes


Prisoner of War

Against the armour of the storm
I’ll hold my human barrier,
maintain my fragile irony
Hamish Henderson

Cradle of Slavic Christianity
Blown up Sergei Stiltski’s own brethren,
Trudging slowly thro’ this depress’d city,
Close to the road resounds an explosion;
Marching to war
Yon Kiev’s anxious hive,
Toward the front’s dull roar, one rifle between five.

A disaster without precedent,
The largest ever troop-trap,
As Hitler wounds an elephant
With a circle on a map,
With Stalin sat impenitent
As broke the thunderclap;
Six hundred thousand survive the battle,
Fenced off in roofless fields like dumb cattle.

“Food!” “Food!” Sergei springs to action
& sprints to this barb’d wire,
Heaving legion of starving men,
Moaning hunger’s desire,
Scrapping for scraps… he caught a bap, tho stale wolf-gorged entire.



Drang Noch Osten

Stalin’s laughter haunts Hitler’s garish dreams,
Ghosts whisper, “Delenda est Carthago!”
Come morning konferenz his sol-fa screams,
“I must begin the drive upon Moscow!”
“Perhaps we should
First form a winter’s line?”
“Nonsense! with one last shove the Kremlin shall be mine.”

Those mucky & encouching seas,
Thick, brown, froze ev’ry axle,
The Wehrmacht sinks up to it’s knees,
Jackboots suck’d from each ankle,
Their throttle roar more flagging breeze,
A foundering battle…
While Ollie rifles thro’ the Russian dead
Some sleep-coat stands & stabs him in his head.

Khan blew that black-tooth’d grin away
& dug his friend’s death-hole,
The grave fill’d in, loss felt like kin,
For friendship touches soul,
While from the ruthless Heavens Winter’s first snowflake did fall.

October 7th



Lilts Tojo, admiring, thro’ lush gardens,
Yon lotus buds with flowers commingling,
Thro’ palace halls tapestried with legends,
To the throne of a line everlasting:
Bows low he there;
Below his Emporer,
Sate on his dragonschair flank’d by vase & flower.

His excellency, Hideki,
Has gain’d Hirohito’s trust,
“How long must we let them treat thee
Like some coolie in the dust?
We must attack our enemy,
To strike first is a must,
To destroy our great Pacific rival,
Yamamoto wills your heart to battle!”

The starsoul thinks, then with a sigh,
Lets War loose with a nod,
A time to fly, a time to die,
In service to their ‘god,
Strains Japan’s soul, all set to burst from Wisteric seedpod.

Nov 3rd


Day in the Life

The brittle aromatic sage, which,
Trodden down, gives forth a fragrance that hangs
Upon the air, as broken bodies bleed
M Wilmoth

Dust devils swept the deadlock of Tobruk,
Dead heart of this most dreadful of dead lands,
The molten, hostile sky of the Menluk,
Medusa’s blood-serpents squirming thro’ sands;
As Dawn slow grows
Eager for the slaughter
Tommy Sumner arose… life short, but days shorter.

From out some mess tin Tom did shave,
Nobble-knee’d in khaki pants,
White knight of a Crusader wave,
Carthaginian elephants,
Whose citadels turn totall’d grave,
Flames licking from the vents…
& with a best mate shot on either side
A brown-eyed boy from Burnley nearly died.

As Billy writhed in agony,
On hot sand worm-guts spill’d,
How terribl’y veterancy
Such hellish sights did build,
‘If mi number int on it,’ Tommy thought, ‘I sha’nt get kill’d!’



Fortress Malta

Mussolini blames his woes on Malta,
“Allow this hornet’s nest no hour of rest,
An unsinkable aircraft carrier,
From now keep her activity depress’d;
She is the knife
Press’d on lines of supply,
Her people full of life, then they will have to die.”

The Maltese met Il Duce’s rage,
Determin’d on liberty,
Imprison’d in an island-cage
They’ll dig themselves to safety,
A second neolithic age,
For faith’s first family;
Living life in a limestone catacoomb,
Candles & prayers lighting up the gloom.

Fighting for their little country
They’d help a global cause,
‘Tween Italy & Tripoli
Attack’d the Axis stores,
With submarines & wellingtons, force all the wrack of wars.



Glimpse of Glory

Fascisti race to the gates of Moscow,
Ran ragged in her ruin’d environs,
Ice-caked at thirty-five below zero,
& the Russkis still scrapping like demons;
Skirting the verge
Of that fabled city,
One last glorious surge must seize them victory!

Kampfswagon engine warm’d by fires,
Khan’s company advances,
On reconnaissance’s acquires
Most mythical of glances,
In nearing distance Moscow’s spires
Flutter like goldfinches,
Rough volley of gunshot disturbs the dream
For motley crews of workers on them stream!

With the Panzers frozen solid
A few leagues to the rear,
Entrench’d Russian, with wrench & gun,
In action ever near,
With pisgah sight those spires espied… mist shrouds… then disappear.

December 3rd


Pendulum Turns

My country is my pride & glory!
The great Soviet people in a headlong rush
Of fiery lava will wipe out the fascist gang.
Nikolai Tikhonov


For those friends having fail’d to run the course
Willie’s harp sang a sad & lilting dirge,
Breakfasting on the flesh of frozen horse,
Sweat froze to Khan at his madnesses verge;
Reduced to rags,
Barely untermenschen,
O torn & tatter’d flags, O worn & shatter’d men!

Over Moscow’s frozen river
Came Zhukov’s counter-attack,
Fresh soldiers of Siberia,
From many a hunter’s shack,
Spirits fortified by vodka,
Snowsuits upon the back,
Supported closely by planes & cannons,
Shall pulverise those exhausted Germans.

Thus perishes the same retreat
Which slew the Grand Army,
Raped with defeat, scraping ice-sheet
Men trudge dejectedly,
Homes burning, & potatoes, to express tough enmity.

December 6th


American Opinion

Rita clocks off another working day
Making deadly accoutements of War,
Collected her ever-increasing pay,
Then nipp’d in for a whiskey down Hank’s Bar;
Deepens at the refill,
“I did not raise my son just to die for Churchill!”

“I fought,” said Hank, “In Flanders’ mire,
Back in Nineteen Seventeen,
Pull’d Britain’s chestnuts from the fire
In scenes like ya’ve never seen,
Just so that lousy old Empire
Remains our global queen!”
A tear slipp’d from the corner of his eye,
“Y’know I saw a lotta good men die.”

She drains the glass, gush’d from her core,
“God bless America!”
Walks thro’ the door to Ned’s new store,
There buys a newspaper,
Front pages dominated by sour-face Mister Hitler!

December 6th

Pearl Harbour

Sol’s portal rose Impayen from silk sea,
Illumes a rain-thrash’d fleet thro’ morning mist,
Upon the flat-top of the Akagi
Yamamoto crushes pearl in fist;
World-airwaves fill,
Instreaming for the kill, screaming, “The Emperor!”

They burst on battleships in rows
Like Samurai hard charging,
Swin-streaking swordfin torpedoes,
Underneath the whizzing wing
An awful & unlawful show,
Noble ships exploding,
Day of Lusitanian proportions,
Flys everywhence across the world’s oceans.

With the morning’s carnage over,
With no more death to spread,
Each warrior – in good order –
Atop the white wave sped,
Leaving Hawaii belching smoke & Hirohitan dead.

The Pacific Ocean
December 7th

Canto 12: Immortals II


As far as a man can peer thro’ the mist,
Sitting on watch, looking over a wine dark sea,
So long is the stride of the god’s thundering horses


Heroic Counsel

High upon the snow-clad slopes of Snowdon
Britannia brandishes her family,
Empaces by her faithful Gwydion,
Awaiting Neptune’s first emissary;
Green Merman comes,
Darp’d in coral sharkskin,
The sounds of horns & drums… the meeting may begin.

Phoebus the drouthy scene illumes
As serious parlance cooks,
Zephyrs ruffle Ra’s ostrich plumes,
Her Majesty nears the crux,
“I sense the Harbinger of Dooms,
Rough cancer fills the flux,
The testing time forespaken drawth near!”
“Come the day,” shouts St£rling,  “who shall fight here.”

The loyal company, & true,
Cries ready for the War,
Violet Vishnu skims skiey blue,
Ra sails for dusky shore
Neptune accomodates Dagon, the Lion roars it roar!




Four riders climb thro’ the bowels of DIS,
Splashing thro’  the flammable Phlegethon
& the dismally Stygian piss,
To ford the  waters of dark Acheron;
Yon Cerberus,
Three-headed, howling hound,
Over Lake Avernus, to stand on Midgard’s ground.

The air grew thick with snort & steam,
Oer the Red, White, Black & Pale,
The Moon took on a crimson gleam,
Bellow’d up a fearsome gale,
Around the hoof what horrors stream,
Pungent in noxious veil,
A thousand Civiallos & their sneer
Releas’d on Earth to furnish curse & fear.

Mars lifts his blade, strike splits the ground,
Lungs blow the martial roar,
Lor’lein sounds startling the hounds
Pacing the Paynim shore,
Whom approach him & approaching wield the first snarls of War.



Divine War

At first it seems a cloud of far distance,
Choking the icy wastes of Cocytus,
The standards of the King of Hell advance,
Behold! the proud legion of Satanus;
Waving rough sword
In motions of his might,
Behind, a Daemonhorde, above, a Dragonsflight.

As his son & heir-lieutenant,
Swings his hammer, broad Mjolnir,
Proud limbing Odin’s forces went;
From the stallion Sleipnir
Toward the trembling Occident
Points his great spear, Gungnir…
Sol tentatively rising from the East,
Grew too afraid to light the royal feast.

On clinquant rays three saints descend,
George, Michael & Denys,
Jove’s holy blend, call’dd to defend
Faith’s physicality,
Blades sharpen’d for the battle, feather’d backs against the sea.



Death of Venus

Skull-Loki steer’d his steed in freedom’s flight,
Tall oer Europa’s thickest forests & ranges,
& lands upon a mountain of delight,
Lone grey, priest loonranting of its dangers;
Strong steps funnel
Along a moisty cave cave,
Waiting in that tunnel, Love laugh’d & gave a wave.

As Loki lecher’d on her dress
& a face above all art,
The temptress-scented loveliness,
Legs slenderly held apart,
O! the vision of her cestus,
Temple’s resplendent heart-
What man could fight allurements of her charms?
What god could fight her pure, “Come to my arms!”

Plunged was a poison-tipp’d dagger
Thro’ Venus’ heaving breast,
By grey river a murderer
Lay fairest corpse arest
Hair willowing thro’ water, one breaks free from all the rest…



A Savage Affray

Smoke, flash & shout,; a massive, grassy plain,
The Cockerelle of Gaul battles Odin,
Together Tyr & Toutatis lay slain
& all the world was echoing the din;
Auld Saint Denys
Transforming to a Hart,
Chased by these tuskBoars three, hoovepounding as they dart.

To the scene of desperate fight
Enveloping Saint Michael,
Some foulish serpent;s poison bite,
That beautiful bladesman fell,
To morass down in frantic flight
Saint George did dive pell-mell;
To disappear ‘neath flailing tooth & claw,
To burst back with his kinsman, soak’d in gore.

Slow-driven backwards twards the sea,
Albion’s precious moat,
Desperately, defiantly
The Lion rampant fought,
Deep gouges in its surly loins, wylde Harpies at it’s throat.




Wide-eyed inside a nightmare’s aftershock,
The great God of War wakens in the rains,
Arms entermeddl’d, tied to craggy rock,
In craven rage instraining at the chains;
“Why hold me here?”
Shouts echo cross the seas,
No rescuers appear, now dropping to his knees,

He fills the cosmos with despair,
From dawn til the drop of night,
At last the Dark Lord made aware
Of the War God’s awful plight,
So sends three harpies thro’ the air,
Craw-throated feral flight,
From whose sharp claws  raindrops a golden key,
What mass of slime uprises from the sea?

That key grabb’d by a tentacle,
& Lord Mars was releas’d,
Stands grateful, branding his skull
With numbers of the beast,
Pois’d ready or the battle, Hell’s hegemony increas’d.



Halting Hell

Satanus tried to set the sea on fire
& boil the flesh of Neptune from his bones,
Saint George swings wide his blade, Jove’s first flyer,
Safely whipping flames off with brisk cyclones;
Yet felt a bite,
Pure ichor gushing free,
He fac’d the Dragonsflight with terrible fury.

In raging snick-a-snack attack,
Deus dripping from bright eyes,
Three dragonskulls split with a crack,
To the final foething flies,
& slices wings from bony back,
One heart’s thrust & it dies –
A day of evil darkness pacified,
What dismay’d groans erupting from Gaul’s shore-side.

Dreadful Babababashurath,
The dauphin Lizard king,
Bred wrack’d with wrath, son of ‘Gorath,
Black bone where once was wing,
Sinks deeply with dragonicide, its limp tail following.



Love’s Hope

A river courses thro’ a horseful plain,
Carriageing the golden strand of Venus,
On its fibres a precious,  faint bloodstain,
Ingraining the best of her essences;
Europa’s shore
Watches Thetis make play,
Where peasant waters pour into a crescent bay.

As Merman scouts the outer seas,
He spies a velvety thread,
Escorts it thro’ the coral trees
To where old Dagon rested,
& plants it on the snoring wheeze
Of Neptune, bare-chested,
It-locking in an airy, lucid dome,
Now blown off spinning thro’ the underfoam.

Hair lands inside an oyster shell,
Jaws quiver as they close,
Ambrosial mother of pearl,
As soft as spring time snows,
Hushes her magic as the fibre to a wylde rose grows



Stand of Pyerun

As weather gleams goldenly glorious,
Eversome eastward,  spoiling countryside,
Steams the banded legion of Satanus,
Half-a-league in the van four horseman ride;
Grind hooves to halt
Before a vast prospect,
Lit by a thunderbolt… by enemies bespeck’d.

The hordes of Hades charge & fought,
A spirit army scatter’d,
As Pyerun conjures fireflaught
So many helms are shatter’d,
Tough armours caught a fireslaught
Down a gorgeside clatter’d…
Attackers halted, as on either side
Stormcraft repels the abbadonic tide.

More daemons swarm, surround Pyerun,
They’ll deal the killer blow,
Stepping upon a field frozen,
The lake seems solid snow…
‘Til Ice-King’s yell cracks ice; Hell’s shriekings drowning dragg’d below.


Canto 13: Explosion

The most dangerous moment comes with victory


America Goes to War

Thin veil of snow covers the capital,
A little ice drifts on the Potomac,
An all together pageant of wonderful,
Oblivious to enemy attack;
Dines Rooseveldt
Inside those Whitehouse walls,
The perdidy hard felt, the murdering appalls.

News-tickers read the deed aloud,
What words to be receiving,
Rude shock electrifies the crowd
Jaws dropping disbelieving,
A father’s tear slips sad & proud,
Portending his grieving…
Deep in the Dustbowl Carlton park’d his car
To race into teh kitchen babbling ‘Ma!

Ma! Where are you?”‘ About the farm
The workers gets the gist,
“Don’t join the army, boy, stay calm,”
“But Ma, I must enlist!”
She tried to soothe him with soft hands, but strokes a pearl-clench fist.

December 7th


The Patience of Winston Churchill

Face sighing stern, lips draining brandy glass,
Marlborough’s blood congealing for the fight,
Depress’d with this unpleasant presentness,
No way to win the Wars at all in sight;
Blimp from dinner,
Cheeks half-cock’d all aglow,
He gestures his butler fetch in the radio…

As he twiddl’d with his diamonds
Tun’d to service with a clink
“… attack’d the Hawaiian islands…”
Splash, spit, splurt, out burst his drink,,
“All the tides & all the oceans,
Dare this be what I think?”
By private line he reach’d the President –
To serve his hopes, it seem’d, an angel sent.

“God be with you!” how civilly
Men end a friendly call
His boyish glee vees victory,
So we’ve won after all…
Now Hitler’s fate is seal’d,” he utters with a sterner drawl.

December 7th


World War

Rommel is retreating to Gazala,
Barbaossa nears annihilation,
Closing net sets Hitler to the ponder,
Torn open by timely escalation;
With vital blow
An ally ne’er vanquisht
Has rode into the show in ways he would have wish’d.

Summoning the Reichstag android
Rose Hitler, virulently,
“We cannot this world war avoid –
The responsibilty
Of that half-Judaiz’d, negroid,
Capitalist country!
Standing side-by-side with the Emporer,
I have declared against America!”

Whistle claque joy demonstrated
A twinge shook Goering’s gut,
Long-awaited, ever-fated,
The nightmare nailing shut,
A Reichmarshall woe-whispering, “Now Deautschland is kaput!”

December 11th



The Star of Poland, stitch’d in yellow band,
Marks the arm of every human Jew,
That on the pack’d platform with Grunfelds stand –
A cattle wagons clatter into view;
Peasant & Priest
Into that cramm’d space sent,
Trains lurching to the East, towards resettlement.

As frightful freights of pity flow,
Desperation stagnates air,
One welcome smile softens the blow,
Waited Jakob calmly there,
To lead them thro’ a grey ghetto,
A flat for all to share –
Two rooms & one tiny lavatory
To serve his reunited family.

Nikki slipt to the ghetto wall,
The sign ‘Verboten’ said,
Chasing the roll of her wee ball,
The sentry shot her dead…
Wailing kinah to side & sheloshim the Grunfelds sped.



Death of Khan Stemmler

All across the front the counter-strikes start,
Spurr’d on by vengeance, Stalin & Smirnoff,
It seems as if the ghosts of Bonaparte
Have fled the cannonades of Kutuzov;
Adolf aghast,
Thin hair afleck with grey,
“The army will stand fast, we must not fight like Ney!”

Footed firm with heavy losses
Germans slow the grand Russian,
But now invincible hubris
Defeated to depression,
Like Sargon’s curs’d calamiities
With the Kullumaean…
Without his fingers, toes & half-a-nose
Khan staggers lifelorn thro the drifting snows.

CRACK! CRACK! He falls awrith with pain,
Snow red-stain’d where he bled,
The warm breaths wane, the bloody mane
Of some befang’d wolfshead
Brushes his cheek, rips out his throat… today the pack well fed.

Christmas Day


The Final Question

Heydrich receives Hitler’s whim thro’ Himmler,
Schutzstaffel konferenz to Wansee borne,
Yachts dallying on a gentle water
Sumptuous luncheons laid on level lawn;
Aft finger-licks
& champagne guzzl’d hard,
Men dawdl’d thro’ dorics of a villa’s white façade.

“The time hath come for Endlosung,”
Chirp’d Heydrich over brandy,
“The very last blood-drop be wrung
From the Jews methodic’ly,
& spare us not avenging young,
Raise hands if you agree…”
This act of villain faith wraithweevils share,
Adds Eichmann, “Let us breath, at last, clean air…

At Auswich an innovation
Successfully was tried,
The gas Zyklon… deportation
Shall drain Europa wide,
In fifty months more than ten million Jews will have died…”



Soviet Stoicism

Snow falls with a blizzard-bitter harshness,
Yet onwards, ever onwards, rolls the war,
God mighty canon-Krupps sent to oppress,
The celebrated ‘Venice’ of the Czar;
Constant shellfire
Rains down on every side;
No redoubt to retire, no bunker for to hide.

Despite worsening misery
Of the hungry, cold half-dead,
Men kept alive through poetry
& the sawdust in their bread,
But none hold onto sanity
With bellies barely fed,
Beloved pets spit roasted, streets of fear
As first few little children disappear.

Krasnaya fills with men & guns,
Oktober’s famed parade,
The sights of sons & fathers stuns,
The women in the shade,
Saluting Vladamir’s statue off to the front they fade.



Fall of Singapore

The Tyger of Malaya gains his name,
The teeming jungle stain’d in bosky blood,
On England’s empire comes an eastern claim,
Built as it is on tropical, soft mud;
An army runs
Pell-mell to Singapore,
Its vital forts & guns stuck on the southern shore.

Shane Slater fed into the fight,
A total, bloody shambles!
Wacthes Shonan, the Southern light,
Fair cauldron of world peoples,
Bows meekly to the Tyger’s might,
Tyrant without scruples,
Dehumanizes all who surrender
“Cowards call yourselves, kill yourselves better!”

How mis’rable that mob of men
On the road to Changi,
None have eaten, shot & beaten,
Defeated & weary,
Facing uncertain futures & useless captivity.

Feb 16th

Close Run Thing

Stalag luft twelve bustl’d with goons & drones,
‘How terribly boring,’ thought restless Bligh,
Now sauntering to Flight-Leftenant Jones,
Who spies a twinklefox in Nigel’s eye,
“Tonights the night!
Are the cutters ready…”
Life’s valued action bright for life & liberty.

Stars fire & thro’ the wire they went
With never a half-look back,
Shunning Sol’s harvest fluorescent
March’d thro night’s covering black,
The dark Black Forest three weeks spent,
They climb’d into a stack…
Dawn swallowing the last of her moonbeams,
The Ranz des Vaches resounding round their dreams.

To gunshot & Teutonic shout
They woke up with a fright,
Rough bundl’d out, fell’d with a clout
They stood up to such sight…
Almost touching the Heaven slopes of some Helvetian height.

Hoch Finstermunz

Canto 14: Coagulations

To require of strength that it should not express itself as strength, that it should not be a desire to conquer, a desire to subdue, a desire to to become master, a thirst for enemies & resistances & triumphs, is just as absurd as to require of weakness that it should express itself as strength
Frederick Nietzsche


Swing Youth

Not every German struts about like Geese,
Some still prefer to swing the jinx away,
That unencumber’d, evergreen release
Teenagers feel when real musicians play;
Each gramaphonic scratch
Comblendeth mystical new music without match.

Young Xaver Stemmler caught the drug,
Grew his hair an awfa’ long,
Goes wiggling thro’ the jitterbug
In good English sang along,
When puffing like a paddletug,
Settling himself among
The girls, he curls a cigarette, or two,
Sits back & swoons, impassion’d, at the view.

“In here there is no Nazi yoke,
In here feel liberty,”
He lit a smoke, he bit a toke,
He blew the white rings free,
Facing the floor, lush fraulines laughing with frivolity.



Swinging Pendulums

Though the struggle has taken a dangerous turn,
though the Germans amuse themselves with the fascist chimera
we shall repel our enemies
Dem’ian Bednyi

The winter offensive melts with the snow,
Two great enemies lay down exhausted,
The roads dissolving to a muddy flow,
The front is fix’d, time swung to count the dead;
The German’s score
One million underground,
The Russians many more, what first titanic round!

“Comrades of the fascist Jihad
Let us combine our forces,
Strike from the southern launching pad,
Conquering the Caucasus,
A prompt capture of Stalingrad
Cuts off Red resources,
& following, roll up the Volga’s banks
To penetrate Moscow upon all flanks!”

The pendulum swings back due East,
Stalin’s armies pounded,
More men releas’d, the net increas’d,
All reserves surrounded…
To hoard such feasts of prisoners twelve fresh death camps founded.

May 12th



Thro’ fetid swamps Basho drove his forces,
A filthy bunch of Scousers fell upon,
Had them tight-bound at their soft surrenders,
& order’d bayoneted one-by-one;
Blades wipen’d clean,
Under tropical moon,
They press on thro’ the steam to liberate Rangoon.

Thro’ monsoon & malaria,
With barely a bulldog stand,
The British army in Burma
Thro’ a jungle nightmare fann’d
“Yer on yer own fer India!”
The one clear-cut command…
Whose retreat, in fullness of confusion,
A trail leaves of chaos & destruction.

Basho cross’d the Irrawaddy,
Drove yon the border line,
Eyes sol-lit see raw junglerie
Upon the hills recline,
First bulwark of far-reaching Raj ‘neath Siva’s bleaching shine.



Unread Letters

As Eleanor Stemmler felt herself good,
She couldn’t help but cringe beneath her hat,
Vile members of the Sicherheitsdienst stood
Behind her on the train, what awful chat!
As Russia fell
They’d roar’d all thro’ Ukraine
& drove the Jews to hell, two hundred thousand slain.

That night, with Max, she tried to share
This gossip from the sectors,
Horrescent rumours everywhere,
“Tis nothing but conjectures!”
Her husband huff’d, without a care,
Cold as debt collectors,
“But darling, what if, what if it’s all true?”
“But if it is, my love, what can we do?”

“My friend,” she said, “to Kaunus sent,
I’ve written twenty times…”
“Tis innocent, maybe they went
Elsewhere…” as midnight chimes,
Within the silence marital rise minds in violent crimes.

June 2nd


Australian Spit

‘The strongest man is mightiest alive,’
Remembers, each dawn, Shane Taylor Slater,
Determin’d, for his father, to survive,
Sensing chances come, sooner or later;
‘Til then, withstood,
All miseries & sun –
Like bluebells in a wood men wilted one-by-one.

To handle such sadistic sin,
Bear such crude brutality,
Phenomenal self-discipline,
Freed from personality,
Was vital, as with dog-bite grin,
Vanishes self-pity,
To live life in the present every day
& all those happy past-lives hold at bay.

For this is where true torture lies –
Not tied to bamboo cane,
Hounded by flies, as back & thighs
Bull-whipp’d by men insane –
Men’s captive reminscences bring them the upmost pain.

June 6th



Nippon probes the fog-shrouded Aleutians
Those last, little islands near Hawaii,
Four flat-tops flying high the rising suns,
Their flagship, Yamamoto’s Akagi;
Up from the decks,
Like cranes leaving a lake,
Accelerant, convex, each ‘dauntless’ clouds uptake

The dateline cross’d from east to west,
Men steel’d their hearts for valour,
Arising on horizon’s crest
Climbs the target carrier,
In single file planes faced the test,
As, at Balaclava,
The gunneries response is amplified
Crescendowards, ‘twas surely suicide.

The Yorktown sunk… by fate, by luck,
By broken naval codes,
Brewsters amuck those four ships struck,
& so, as Hampton Roads,
Those precious airstrips safely kept, the war’s true crossroads.

Pacific Ocean
June 7th



So then, to tell my story, here I stand.
The dress’s tint, though bleached in bitter dye,
Has not all washed away. It still is real.
Gertrud Kolmar

Since Wansee’s vow Nazis have maximis’d
Their social lordship over all the Jews,
Trapp’d in a den, as them dehumaniz’d
In piecemeal motions, widen’d by the news,
This slow process
Of expropriation
Doubles each day’s duress, & its degradations.

From public pools prohibited,
Purchas’d newspapers denied,
Debarr’d from buying firewood,
Civic centrals kept outside,
All electrics confiscated,
Too telescopes – as died
The shining light of man’s modernity,
Portcullis closes for eternity.

On recremental lives deposed,
Like swine lacking odour,
Good schools are clos’d, warm homesteads hosed
Down with soap water,
Evicted, cramm’d in hungry camps… cattle to the slaughter



Death of Heydrich

King Wenceslas’ crown adorn’d the Hangman
Of Prague, ruling his province arrogant
Enough to be guarded by no real plan…
Thus went his Mercedes, his doom’s advent;
Two patriots
Plot assassination,
Bombslash back’d up by shots… fear flashes thro’ Tschechienne.

While all around the manhunt raged
Killers refuge in a crypt,
But still ruthless Gestapo gauged
Their whereabouts, thusly tipp’d,
Soldiers of the SS engaged
That church as bullets ripp’d
Rank on rank from desperate defenders,
“Reserving last bullets avoids tortures.”

Einsatzgruppen deal the disgust
Of the German peoples,
Beaten & cuss’d, male peasants thrust
Into cellars, stables,
There set alight, their homes destroy’d, wives shot clean thro’ their skulls.

June 9th

FC Start

Kizmenko was march’d inside the warehouse
Known by the name Bakery Number Five,
His countrymen as quiet as a mouse,
Just happy to be working & alive;
With joy he saw
Friends from the Dynamo,
& by them on the floor, Lokomotiv Moscow!

As certain persons of this world
Live life as they are meant to
The flag of FC Start unfurl’d,
Russian red & Ukraine blue,
As team thro’ intense training hurl’d
Such expectations grew –
& in the end, whatever might befall,
These dusty kickabouts sooth’d heart & soul!

Upon a happy summer’s day
When dreamer’s lived the dream,
Nazi leeway, they get to play
The Romanian cream,
& goal-by-goal dismantled them, such was their splendid team.