It's been 75 years since it's over, 81 years since it began. Some memories are still painful but must be shared to prevent their loss




Remembrance Day Canada Thoughts and Memories

 

 

Dad

1939

A wavy haired scholar

Peering from a studio

Photo with Hollywood

Eyes starched shirt

Suit and tie

Wire rimmed spectacles 

Six years of studies

Conservatory of Music

War has begun with volunteers 

As buddy’s race to form a line

To dress in kilts and carry a gun

Rejection slams him in humiliation 

Rheumatic fever forever shames

His dreams of Thermopylae 

 

Her

1944

A skinny grey girl in a shapeless

Smock arrives at school being

Cautiously led by a nun in black

A Londoner escaping death

Having been buried alive

By hitler’s bombs

She’s here in class for us to 

Watch our tattered blood stained

ribbon to a distant conflict glorified

In song and radio 

Movies and posters

The class lout shouts a monstrous

Bang sending her fetaling

In a whimpering corner

 

Him

1950

A new noxious neighbour

Bavarian tall strong poised

Proud Liederhosen in his garden

Claims to his contiguous veteran 

Homeowner across a wire fence

That he’s here to

Make a fortune then

Return to rebuild his

Fatherland

 





Poetry by josephus The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 47 times
Written on 2020-11-06 at 15:03

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Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
Interesting vignettes. Nice work, Joe.
2020-11-06


Christopher Fernie The PoetBay support member heart!
Dear josephus,

I found this poem very moving and, as a new 69 year old, can relate to the personal memories of wartime and post-war events.

Like you, I had a relative- my maternal grandfather- who was rejected for military service on medical grounds. When told about this many years after his death, in 1922, I thought that it was very bizarre that he had been deemed too ill to kill, or be killed!

My late father served in World War 2, albeit for a few months. He lost his arm at Dunkirk and was evacuated back to England where he recovered but would not see action again - much to his disappointment, having been an avid enemy of fascism since the Spanish Civil War. (He had tried to join the International Brigade in Manchester but my mum wouldn't let him!)

Lastly, when I first got married in 1976 my wife and I lived in a large old house in Salford that had been converted into apartments. We lived next door to Mr and Mrs Hammelberger, an elderly Jewish couple. We enjoyed good relations with them, respectful and mannerly.

When we were leaving our flat to move elsewhere. we knocked on their door to tell them of our departure and to wish them both well for the future. Mrs Hammelberger came to the door and listened to our farewells. Before we left. she recounted how she and her husband had had to leave their native Germany in 1938 after months of Nazi threats, including the visit to their home by the Gestapo and being threatened with her own bread knife by one of the visiting officers.

My wife and I expressed our disgust about what had happened to them only 40 or so years earlier. But we both realised that no detached sympathy, however well intentioned, could ever erase the dreadful experiences of our Jewish neighbours.

We duly removed to another part of the city and never saw the Hammelbergers again. But that last encounter had made me understand why my father was so desperate to go to war against Nazi Germany.

I miss my dad and my Jewish neighbours, all connected to the story that must continue to be told.

With best wishes,

Chris
2020-11-06