Canto 71: Total War

I bow in front of the victims of this monstrous crime
Joachim Gauck


Autumnal Blood

Should the worst come to the worst
Should we be overpowered by our foes.
Our bodies shall lie on the field of battle
Mangaia

Eisenhower clutches his purple hearts,
With Axis soldiers murder’d as they stood,
Rapid progress reduced to fits & starts,
Bogg’d down by Autumn’s dirge of rain & mud;
Most precious oil
Trickles from port to front,
As onto German soil the first assault troops shunt.

Thou art Hell, once verdant Hurtgen,
Thy primeval forestry,
Watches lion dedication,
Men embattl’d dev’lishly,
The German spirit’s bolster’d iron,
Flaking young-gun Yankee;
Harsh-fated rules amidst thine ancyent bark,
The going brutal & the killing dark.

Each liquid roads, each pile of snow,
Each booby-trap ambush,
Has stemm’d the flow, strange vertigo
Dizzies the Allied push;
His front safe-clos’d Hitler withdraws the Panzers in a hush.

Ardennes
November
1944


A New Mission

The sun sips the sky until it is drowning.
I am circling my prey.
If I am strong, the world will finally let us be.
Kamikaze Death Poem (anon.)

The Japanese air officer appears
Afore young pilots fresh-faced & alive,
“We’re looking for some special volunteers
To fly a mission no-one could survive:
One possible
Answer of three impart,
‘No,’ ‘Yes,’ & ‘Yes, I volunteer with all my heart.’”

Taken aback them were, of course,
Who’d wanna be a gonner?
But when night fell, floods forth in force,
Thought-phantoms of dishonour;
His mother’s tears, his father hoarse,
“Why bestow this on her?
A coward for a son!” in fitful dreams
Apocalyptic visions stuff’d with screams.

Out of the forty who awoke
“Yes…” answer’d thirty-nine,
The other bloke they push & poke,
While forming in a line,
Zeletic alcestissians for Yosukini’s shrine.

Tokyo
December
1944


The Last Wolf

Ez for war, I call it murder,-
There you hev it plain an’ flat;
I don’t want to go no durder
James Russel Lowell

A fleet of thirty Lancasters takes flight,
Cocksuring with latest technology,
When wee computers, supporting bombsight,
Keen-measuring wind-speed velocity;
The sixth hour nears,
Below – in Tromsoe fiord –
The matchstick ship appears, each pilot pulls the cord,

Dropping bombs ever precisely
On the long-sought for Tirpitz,
Who shudders with Hellish fury
Neath an unrelenting blitz,
This fairest princess of the sea
Struck by convulsive fits,
Slipping into the icy, bubbling foam –
Above, applauding Britons turn for home.

This last pride of the High Seas Fleet
Lies, rust-meat, under waves –
Awful, complete, total defeat,
Dead in their ocean graves,
This challenge to Brittania ends like Trojan architraves.

Norway
Dec 12th
1944


End of the Affair

When I was a young shoot & curious
my heart was set on this world;
my evil deeds will make me die soon
Palau

Twyx keen lambitus & deft fellatrice
Two lovers groan in gushes, while outside
Shuffle shadow beings until decease,
Monotonous, inescapable ride!
With coital flame
Slowing with fierce fondling
They go to play the game of sonderbehandling.

Anna Grunfeld stood a statue
As dawdle her inspectors
Along the lines, where two-by-two,
Arbitary, capricious,
The weakest lookers pay their due
In this evil, viscious
Infestation of every human sin,
When ‘special treatment’ just a rubbish bin!

The two new vernals caught her eye,
She had her wicked way,
A startl’d cry, a heartfelt, “why
Touch Juden filth, & gay!
This trysting is kaput!” hiss’d the disgusted Mengele.

Auschwitz
December 16th
1944


Battle of the Bulge

Let the shell fragments
howl past more often,
random death roam free
Sergey Narovchatov

The Allies stand at Germany’s threshfold,
Hitler denudes defences in the East,
Inspires his troops with the gusto of old,
Once more the grand gods of battle may feast!
Thro’ the Ardennes
Trail miles of martial queues,
Fresh aircraft, tanks & men, “To Antwerp & the Meuse!”

Fog drowns the leaves, the ice breeze chills,
Vee-Twos trail fiery blazes,
Thro’ twisted vales, ‘neath snow-capt hills,
Trundle hundreds of panzers,
No vernal cluster’d Daffodils
Comforting the soldiers
Attacking tanks cunctatorially –
How different from triumphal ‘forty.

The petrol dumps are blown sky high,
Fury’s depleted use,
Their fumes suckt dry the Panzers sigh
Beside the milky Meuse,
Yearning for famous victory, alas the Fates refuse.

Dinant
December 22nd
1944


Poker Game

How did you pass thro’ cobalt wood
Thro’ shrouds of white, to reach the sneer
Where fat hyenas feast on blood.
Amjad Nasser

Yuletide passes by & yet no victor;
Saint Nicholas delivers golden gift
To the Allies, the skies gleam clear weather,
Reflected by the bright, white snowsome drift;
Farenheit’s fall,
The GI grows colder,
Shouts, “Fire in the hole!” Angels on his shoulder

Go about their deadly business,
Wreaking murder far below,
Piles of presents sent for christmas
Lie unopened in the snow,
For nearby these frozen corpses
These gifts will never know
As all about the Fuhrer’s grand design
But a spent promise broken on the line.

All-in for the Fascist menace,
Three aces… world grows hush,
Hitler’s grimace, the other ace
Flipp’d for a royal flush,
The Allies claim the bulging pot, upon three sides now push.

France
December 27th
1944


For Japan

We didn’t see our dead,
Who rarely bothered coming home to die
But simply stayed away out there
Howard Nemerov

How light the hearts of men summon’d to die,
The time to please the Emperor soon come,
Pride forms blue spinning crystals in the eye,
Serene as the floating chrysanthemum;
From Kyushu
To Soya-Misaki,
Tojo’s warmongers drew their lethal infantry;

Then pour’d them thro’ the harbour quays
Filling the honeycomb caves,
The Kimigayo on the breeze
Superpatriotic braves
Heard strange whisperings in the trees
As mad kannushi raves,
Ambitious lilies adventing the storm,
Not long to go before the war comes home.

Basho climb’d gorgeous Mount Shuri,
Open’d his heart & pray’d
For victory, his great army
Snoozed in the evening shade,
Waiting to be awoken & to draw the Empire’s blade.

Okinawa
January 1st
1945


Death of Frau Stemmler

Within our life these sorrows we contain
Uncertain days, yet full of certain grief;
In number few, yet infinite in pain
Christopher Lever

Karolina gazed on beautiful spires,
Medieval majesty up-streaming,
Untouch’d by this damn’d war’s destructive fires,
The World of old all dazzling & dreaming;
Her cousin Klaus
Meets her at the station,
Soon in a coffehaus flows good conversation.

Bligh flew over Franconia
Where the targets drew in sight,
Dyak temple of Der Fuhrer
One moment before midnight,
From the belly of his bomber
Drops the poor people’s plight…
A grey deluge of terror from the skies,
Frau Stemmler cursed Herr Hitler as she dies.

As ghastly Magdeburg suffer’d
This city too knows hell,
Bligh glides his bird & at the word
Load added to the swell,
A far cry from gallant ‘forty this slaughter ariel.

Nuremburg
Jan 2nd
1945


The Anonymous Soldier

I find no peace, & all my war is done,
I fear & hope, I burn, & freeze like ice.
I fly above the wind, yet can I not arise
Sir Thomas Wyatt

In a storm, in a blizzardsong of snow,
A soldier huddles from a distant land,
Where purple sands of desert heave & blow,
& nomads drink the vines of Samarkand;
This frozen waste,
This landscape alien,
Encas’d the great displac’d races of gravesent men.

They knew him thro’ the regiment,
Tho’ none his name remember’d,
A shell, of elevation spent,
Beside his neck descended,
& blew up like a lava vent,
Cruelly dismember’d
His torso stood upon two bleeding knees,
Legs in the bushes, arms up in the trees.

Once he was his mother’s darling,
But now he’s blown to bits
Cursing the King of Everything,
The Devil’s glamourglitz,
Lock’d in wars of Good & Evil, when Destiny permits.

Russia
January
1945

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