Canto 74: Victory in Europe

The victor will not be ask’d afterwards whether he told the truth or not, in starting & waging a war it is not right that matters, but victory

Adolf Hitler


Veteran

I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier,
I brought him up to be my pride & joy,
Who dares to place a musket on his shoulder
Piantadosi & Bryan

Teethsinking hoarfrost left Siberia
Coating the country of the whining shout
Floating from volksempfanger reciever
Whom secret sniggerings call Goebell’s snout;
A call to arms;
For Fuhrer, land & God,
Leave factories & farms, embrace vaterlandstod.”

Emerg’d Wolfgang with decision,
He should defend his city,
The sacrifice of World War One –
Incalculable pity –
Must something mean, a gun’s a gun,
Trenchtrain’d ability
Against the French & English felt ingrain’d,
Yes, he shall fight while breath in him remain’d.

Eating kohlsuppe from a mess tin,
Wolfgang clean’d his spectacles
Thro’ flames & din the foe rush’d in
Remembering the drills
He points & fires his panzerfaust – tank kills, blood spills, old thrills!

Berlin
April 25th
1945


Death of Il Duce

Gone is all that former glory
Relics of it ever glow
In the colors of the rainbow
Akaki Tsereteli

As paths of glory lead but to the grave,
On haunted men past deeds a heavy load,
Beside the beauty of the Como wave
Rough partisans blockade the convoy road;
Suspicions storm’d!
Amid the gen’ralry,
Luftwaffe uniform’d, dirty Mussolini!

After a brief & angry trial
Weeping Ceasar swiftly shot,
Then driven from that Alpine pile
To be strung up at a spot
Where hungry subjects could revile
His corpse as it did rot…
Piss’d on & spat at & hurl’d with abuse,
Full twenty years of torments letting loose.

She steps into Loreto square
Next to a cursing nun,
Her angry stare turn’d to a glare,
She aims a stranger’s gun
& shoots that bastard man five times, once for each murder’d son.

Milan
April 29th
1945


Death of Der Fuhrer

Then thy dead engine & thy broken wings
Drooped through the arc & passed in fire,
A wreath of smoke – a breathless exaltation
DC Scott

Determin’d not Il Duce’s fate to share,
He sets to his own life unrepentant
From power’s height unto a dream despair,
A dictator dictates his testament;
Herr Hitler hiss’d
(His customary mode),
“Global Jewry resist! Uphold the racial code!”

After simple ceremony
Two true lovers proved as one,
But one hour of matrimony
‘Til her husband clutch’d his gun
& stepp’d into eternity…
She, swallowing poison,
Plants tender kisses on his fingertips,
“My darling!” last words slip from dying lips.

Men paus’d awhile before the sight,
Dowsing them in petrol,
Coupl’d alight, firedrakes in flight,
O Viking funeral,
A captain of a sinking ship, a king lost in battle.

Berlin
Mayday
1945


Collapse of the Reich

Governors! Ministers! You who prate
That war & ravage & wreck must be
To save the nation, avenge the state
Angela Morgan

Only Goebells would join his god in doom,
The Nazi magick sever’d from it’s source,
The rest, like rodents, scurry thro’ the gloom,
Whose single light commands a brave, white horse;
Great Zhukov sits
Proudly in the saddle-
What majesty emits from such Gods of Battle?

He drove his men into the fray
Urg’d one last, ferocious spurt,
Resolute that following today
His men no more shall face hurt,
Let loose is one last bullet spray,
Foes bleeding in the dirt…
Prussian militarism extinguish’d
With one sweet cry, “The fighting is finish’d!”

Thro Brandenburg victorious
Men sang in Zhukov’s drag,
Pallid soldiers stood glorious
By the ruin’d Reichstag,
Upon whose roof bird-flutter’s Russia’s sickle-corner’d flag.

Berlin
May 2nd
1945


Flight of Eichmann

The air is cool and night is coming.
The calm Rhine courses its way.
The peak of the mountain dazzles
Heinrich Heine

As Messerschmitts motor thro’ morning sky
In their desperate efforts for safety,
One weary man with yet wearier sigh
Looked low upon dear burning Germany;
No sun, no birds,
Just smoke, just hate, just hell,
No more those mystic words, no more Der Fuhrer’s spell.

Down there… a soldier saw the plane
& wish’d that he flew within,
Instead, manhandl’d off the train
By avenging Konstantin,
Black memories flood-boiling brain,
That scar brought back the sin…
For what this slug did to his Dosia
He drew his knife & slew Gerhart Buscher.

Up there… Eichmann went on in flight,
Touch’d down by sultry port;
By dead of night, with nerves afright,
He boarded a small boat,
For distant Buenos Aires bound, diamonds about his throat.

Barcelona
May 4th
1945


Collapse of the Reich

What ear to our pitiful anger
Which grows in us like a tumour
In the black depth of our plaintive throats
Birago Diop

Only Goebells would join his god in doom,
The Nazi magick sever’d from it’s source,
The rest scurry like rodents thro’ the gloom,
Watch’d by a rider & his snow-white horse;
Zhukov astride,
Majesty a-saddle,
Pyerun personified, mastery in battle.

A citizen enters a train,
But the scar that mark’d his skin,
Saw him manhandl’d off the train
By avengant Konstantin,
Black memories flood-boiling brain,
The face brought back the sin…
For what this slug did to dear Dosia
He drew his knife & slew Gerhart Buscher.

Nervous Eichmann went on in flight
Touch’d down by sultry port,
In came the night, his nerves asprite,
He smiled, boarded the boat,
Bound for distant Buenos Aires, diamonds about his throat.

Barcelona
May
1945


War’s Tragedy

I am a waterfall in the desert.
A rain from a cloudless sky.
A well known but unborn child
Dimitris Varos

First the High Seas Fleet then the Luftwaffe
Have fail’d to stave the shame of Germany,
The mad adventure finally over
But for one pilot, lone & full fury;
Flying beyond
The islets of the Danes
To skim the glist’ning pond that is the North Sea Lanes.

How could my contree lose this war
When victory was promist?”
In front span the enemy’s shore,
Lindisfarne & the North East,
Anger’s malice swept thro his core
As man becomes the beast…
Seeking some random English street to strafe,
How sad for those who deem’d themselves so safe,

Not knowing it was enemy
Approaching them in flight,
How casually they stop to see
‘Til scatter’d in full fright
By this appalling pointlessness, man sicken’d by his spite.

North Shields
May 6th
1945


Unconditional Surrender

Let sanity have strength & men unite
Who in their invididual lives are glad
That what remains of peace may yet prove strong
HB Mallailieu

There is a scent of lilac in the scene,
The birds are twittering, how sweet the song,
Hosts of soft buds lighten the valley green,
Bloom, birds & bees float back where they belong;
Nature disturb’d,
By gruff sound of staff car,
A callous clime soon curb’d… come men, come end the War.

Monty noticed his big gun guest
Still starch-stiff with arrogance,
“Your nation must heed this request
To cease with thy remonstrance
‘Gainst Allied nations, east & west,
& with them phoenix France…”
On tabletop an armistice appears,
Small moment to cut short the Thousand Years.

Admiral Doenitz signs his name
Upon a poignant page,
Accepts the shame, the varlet blame,
Of this most violent age
& with a last, “Heil Hitler!” murder exeunts from the stage.

Friesland
May 8th
1945


VE Day

nurses with level eyes, & chaste
in long starched dresses, move
Amongst the maimed, giving love
Patricia Ledward

Round Fence & Barley, Altham & Burnley,
Bonfires ablaze, day spreading fine & fair,
Towards Pendle’s shepherd solitary,
Sylphs escort joyous mafficking on air;
Gleeful Sumners,
Free from their weary load,
Join the festive numbers flocking to Manny Road.

T’was the greatest of street parties
(Since the Golden Jubilee),
Flags of all the Allied contrees
Fluttering in victory,
Fun, feastings & festivities
As life’s resurgency
Spreads colours lighting up those party hats
Worn both by peasants & by diplomats.

They’d suffer’d War fer six rude years,
Life’s problems growing plump
Thro’ tides of tears, thro’ childish fears,
Dead sons & Tommy’s stump,
The Sumners battled on… young Maggie rubs her baby-bump!

Burnley
May 8th
1945

 

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