Canto 70: Flagellants

If you live among wolves you have to act like a wolf

Nikita Kruschev


Vengeance!

Impaled on the moon,
a boy’s head is banging for justice.
A mother’s harvest blights at noon
Toyin Adewale-Gabriel

They said in the night all the cats are grey,
Suspicion falls on all but his closest,
The ‘coup’ fizzles to naught by close of day,
Its circle of usurping soul-depress’d;
“Ich bin OK!”
Grateful Volk hear his voice,
Providence dost display my destiny her choice…”

Financiers of treachery,
Self-made victims of the plot,
Von Stauffenburg dealt with quickly
For defying the despot,
“Long live our sacred Germany!”
Proud-statured as he’s shot,
I wish you could have seen his dying face,
So free of doubt, weightless & full of grace.

Such a sense of shock’d resentment
Spreads thro’ the German world,
Their Fuhrer sent to them unbent
By traitors’ fury hurl’d,
While fires of the Ragnarok a little higher curl’d,

Berlin
August
1944


Libertie

Is it not better to bear Beauty’s weight,
Hold up your arches, solid as rock,
Than to feed the hearths of the world’s hot hate
Laza Kostić

Aux Barricades! With patriotic surge
Frenchmen are bursting from a new Bastille,
Deep gusts of fresh freedom from lungs emerge,
Each swastika torn down in frantic zeal;
A grim return
Hounds collaborators,
Naked, a la lanterne, spat at by beraters.

One gorgeous day in late summer,
Spiedel, Praetor of France,
Shall defy his master’s order
With an innate elegance
Saves the treasures of the Louvre,
As thro’ the streets advance
Those gutsy guns, those GI miracles,
Kiss’d on all sides by smiling mademoiselles.

Two nations born of human light
Illume the great parade,
A supreme sight, a dream delight,
La Marseillaise is played
No time to rest in revely, off to the front they made

Paris
August 26th
1944


Quaesitors

In this crooked dead end of a bitter cold
They keep their fire alive
By burning our songs and poems
Ahmad Shamlou

Into the solemn Prinz-Albrechtstrasse,
Foul heart of an empire within empire,
Crapulent on the banquets of power,
Men to a curv’d brutality aspire;
In dark & daze,
Behold the secret police,
Their diabolic ways rule an imperfect peace.

Thro’ all the doors of Germany
Slime tentacles penetrate,
Each plotter & his family
Shall face a queasitor’s fate,
Footsteps clunking full heavily,
Blood trickles down a grate,
Men broken by a callousness sublime
Reveal the names implicit in the crime.

Tied to a blood-stained wooden rack,
Sorrowful Stulpnafel,
Screams out as crack cuts cross his back,
“No more!” the bull-whip fell,
“Give me a name you filthy hund,” a whisper, “Herr Rommel…”

Berlin
August 29th
1944


Rousing the Reich

Sampling the possibility of doom
See us searching the papers
Nursing the radio
Shake Keane

Is Paris burning?” huff’d wistful Hitler,
Fat face so pale & puffy, taut & tense,
A grunt as enters General Molder,
It can’t go on, this War is lost…” “NONSENSE!”
Chasing rainbows,
A vision is devised,
For deity still flows & soldier mesmerised.

“Tis time to mobilise fully
All of the land’s resources,
From the workers of Germany
Draw Volksgrenadier forces,
Show iron vein til victory
Rides on Asgard’s horses,
Back to the Reich as the Ultramarxist
Breaks ranks with the Ultracapitalist!

Yes, we shall fight upon the Rhine
As did Fred’rick the Great,
No Nineteen Nineteen shall define
The future German state…”
Sighs Molder, “I shall try again…” for that man was his fate.

Wolf’s Lair
August 31st
1944


Eastern Bloc

It happened in a land of farmers
on Hilly Balkan, far, far away;
A troop of students died martyred
Desanka Maksimovic

Tho’ hate burns under illustrious eyes,
Tito attacks diplomacy’s charade,
His revolution used by the Allies,
Greets Stalin as an old party comrade;
But on his back
Scars of thirty lashes,
Still echoing the crack of those captive thrashes.

Some twenty divisions need we
If Belgrade be freed from yoke,”
“You’ll have an entire company…”
Stalin breath’d out swirls of smoke,
“…Restore King Peter’s regency;”
Tito cough’d on a choke,
“Impossible! the people will rebel!”
Earning Stalin’s respect &, “Very well,

But what if ever the English
Land on a Balkan shore?”
“We would resist, our only wish
Self-ruling, as before;”
“My friend, we must frustrate the West when we have won this war.”

Moscow
September
1943


Death of Rommel

I shall go back
to the formless clouds
& melt myself into rain
Jared Angira

Two automons knock’d on a legend’s door,
Charging their target with highest treason,
But.. for his services throughout the war
Der Fuhrer has permitted him poison;
Serenity
Succumbs his famous wits,
“Speak with your family, but for fifteen minutes!”

He told his wife of his life’s debt,
Embraced his beloved son,
Donn’d old Afrika Korps jacket,
Attach’d Field Marshall’s baton,
She was nobility, & yet
She wept when he was gone,
Away into the forest & his fate,
Car halts, his captors leave the car & wait…

By seat-slump’d star these pale drones stand,
Now Rommel ‘gan to cry,
Death by the hand of one’s own land
So hard,” stripp’d of all pride,
He wheez’d his last, closed gemmy lids, thought of his wife & died.

Swabia
October 14th
1944


Last Days of the Reich

And this is the crisis-point
The twilight moment between
sleep & waking
Chirstopher Okigbo

Some vale East of the Lakes Masurian
Bleak Prussian homesteads clad in sober grey
Refuse to flee in face of the Russian
Though murder is the order of their day;
Huddl’d in song,
Shells smash through cottage wood
Slaying a peasant throng, soil drinking native blood.

Throughout the Nazi satellite
Roam doubters for eversion,
Bulgaria gives up the fight,
The Baltic states beseigen,
Finland leaves Hitler to his plight
As the Romanian
All land & liberty to Stalin yields –
Seizing the vital Ploesti oil-fields.

How darkly disgusting is war
When war’s ways rumble home,
The drumbeats are frightful afar,
The Volk of Berlin’s Rome
Crucified… an Appalachian Way of the Reichstag dome.

Germany
August
1944


Market Garden

I’ve stopped under the bridge
I haven’t been able to continue
The rain is falling
Miguel James

The drive resumes to claim fortress Holland,
But three bridges to seize by land & air,
For many miles the rich offensive spann’d
Thro bright Autumnal weather fine & fair;
Ah! best laid plans,
Shatter’d spears, batter’d helms,
As optimism pans ailing thro defeat’s realms.

Operation Market Garden
By cross’d bazookas pounded,
White seeds of the Dandelion
Soon outgunn’d & surrounded
Beyond the bridge at Njimagen
Hopes of relief flounder’d…
Procuring death, sad flora of the field,
Yet still these hardy Tommys shall not yield.

Mutual respect runs to confound
The hatred born of war,
The streets around this killing ground
An ill-starr’d bridge too far,
For those whom survived Stalingrad the foe fought on a par.

Arnhem
September 25th
1944

Hungarian Questions

Shut tight your eyes! See nothing at all!
Turn yet paler! And, resigned,
Throw your arms around a greater cross!

Florbela Espanca

Hoffa tries to broker a sep’rate peace,
His rats shall leave the sinking Axis ship,
Hitler’s furies fresh treacheries release,
Sending reserves to reaffirm his grip,
Motor’d across
Pannonia’s wide Plain,
Racing t’avert the loss of all that blood & grain.

At Captain Skorzeny’s command
The auld citadel attack’d,
Thro’ weaking guards his elite band,
Passage pecking schmeissers hack’d,
He strode upright, took Hoffa’s hand,
“Your statement you’ll retract…”
Then gave a speech when all the shooting ends,
“We are not enemies but loyal friends.”

“Hungary fights to the finish!”
Faith restored Zapolyan,
“We have one wish, your Jew rubbish…”
Hoffa leant twards Eichmann…
“Yes?” “You must give them all to me for their expurgation!”

Budapest
October
1944

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