Posts tagged ‘1942’

Friday, 17 May 2013

Vergissmeinnicht by Keith Douglas

Three weeks gone and the combatants gone
returning over the nightmare ground
we found the place again, and found
the soldier sprawling in the sun.

The frowning barrel of his gun
overshadowing. As we came on
that day, he hit my tank with one
like the entry of a demon.

Look. Here in the gunpit spoil
the dishonoured picture of his girl
who has put: Steffi. Vergissmeinnicht.
in a copybook gothic script.

We see him almost with content,
abased, and seeming to have paid
and mocked at by his own equipment
that’s hard and good when he’s decayed.

But she would weep to see today
how on his skin the swart flies move;
the dust upon the paper eye
and the burst stomach like a cave.

For here the lover and killer are mingled
who had one body and one heart.
And death who had the soldier singled
has done the lover mortal hurt.


Date: 1942

By: Keith Douglas (1920-1944)

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels by Herbert (Bert) E Beros

Dedicated to Sapper Victor Cooke, 2/22nd Field Coy, R.A.E.

Many a mother in Australia,
When the busy day is done,
Sends a prayer to the Almighty
For the keeping of her son,
Asking that an angel guide him
And bring him safely back—
Now we see those prayers are answered
On the Owen Stanley Track.
For they haven’t any halos,
Only holes slashed in their ears,
And their faces worked by tattoos,
With scratch pins in their hair.
Bringing back the badly wounded
Just as steady as a hearse,
Using leaves to keep the rain off
And as gentle as a nurse.
Slow and careful in bad places
On the awful mountain track,
The look upon their faces
Would make you think that Christ was black.
Not a move to hurt the wounded,
As they treat him like a saint;
It’s a picture worth recording,
That an artist’s yet to paint.
Many a lad will see his mother,
And husbands wee’uns and wives,
Just because the fuzzy wuzzies
Carried them to save their lives
From mortar bombs, machine-gun fire,
Or a chance surprise attack,
To safety and the care of doctors
At the bottom of the track.
May the mothers of Australia,
When they offer up a prayer,
Mention those impromptu angels,
With their fuzzy wuzzy hair.

Written 14 October 1942, at Dump 66, the first Range of the Owen Stanley.
Sapper H.E. “Bert” Beros, NX6925  7 Div., R.A.E., AIF.


Date: 1942

By: Herbert (Bert) E Beros (?1907-1974)

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Still by Wisława Szymborska

In sealed box cars travel
names across the land,
and how far they will travel so,
and will they ever get out,
don’t ask, I won’t say, I don’t know.

The name Nathan strikes fist against wall,
the name Isaac, demented, sings,
the name Sarah calls out for water
for the name Aaron that’s dying of thirst.

Don’t jump while it’s moving, name David.
You’re a name that dooms to defeat,
given to no one, and homeless,
too heavy to bear in this land.

Let your son have a Slavic name,
for here they count hairs on the head,
for here they tell good from evil
by names and by eyelids’ shape.

Don’t jump while it’s moving. Your son will be Lech.
Don’t jump while it’s moving. Not time yet.
Don’t jump. The night echoes like laughter
mocking clatter of wheels upon tracks.

A cloud made of people moved over the land,
a big cloud gives a small rain, one tear,
a small rain-one tear, a dry season.
Tracks lead off into black forest.

Cor-rect, cor-rect clicks the wheel. Gladeless forest.
Cor-rect, cor-rect. Through the forest a convoy of clamors.
Cor-rect, cor-rect. Awakened in the night I hear
cor-rect, cor-rect, crash of silence on silence.


Date: ?1940-1943

By: Wisława Szymborska (1923-2012)

Translated by: Magnus J. Krynski (?1922-1989)

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Butterfly by Pavel Friedmann

The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone …

Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ‘way up high.
It went away I’m sure because it wished to
kiss the world goodbye.

For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto
But I have found my people here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut candles in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here,
In the ghetto.

4. 6. 1942


Date: 1942

By: Pavel Friedmann (1921-1944)

Translated by: Unknown

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Nationality by Mary Gilmore

I have grown past hate and bitterness,
I see the world as one;
But though I can no longer hate,
My son is still my son.

All men at God’s round table sit,
and all men must be fed;
But this loaf in my hand,
This loaf is my son’s bread.


Date: 1942

By: Mary Gilmore (1865-1962)