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(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

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The Bunker

They hid in a concrete bunker there
While the bombs flew overhead,
Each bomb had seemed to be closer, and
At times, they thought they were dead,
But Karl had held his Griselda close
As she gazed into his eyes,
With a love she wouldn’t surrender
Though the Devil controlled the skies.

‘What do they want to kill us for,
They’ve had their pound of flesh? ’
‘We’re merely reaping the whirlwind
For disturbing Gilgamesh! ’
He kissed her eyes and her golden hair
As the tears streaked down her face,
‘I know I’ll love you forever, though
The heavens destroy our race.’

They’d always meant to be married, but
That had been years before,
For then the Wermacht called on Karl
And hurried him off to war,
He hadn’t wanted to go away
But he knew he daren’t say no,
There were tears from his Griselda when
She badgered him not to go.

He managed to get away on leave
When they came back home from France,
They lay for days in the poppy fields
To renew their brief romance,
‘This war won’t last forever, ’ he said
To relieve her morbid fears,
But then they had turned on Russia, and
The end would be not for years.

She wrote him faithfully every week
And he read her, in his tank,
She poured her perfume onto the leaves
So the breast of his greatcoat stank,
But the worm had turned on the Russian steppes
When the guns and the half tracks froze,
And the mighty army had turned on back
With the order, ‘follow your nose! ’

He’d fled back through the Sudetenland
In a battered Tiger Tank,
He knew that the war was over, with
The Generals to thank,
The tank had stalled, run out of fuel
Just outside East Berlin,
He walked in over the rubble there
And looked for his love again.

He thought that his heart would burst when he
Discovered her still alive,
‘We’ll have to hide in the bunker if
We’re going to both survive.’
They hadn’t eaten for seven days
And Griselda looked so thin,
‘I’ll venture out and I’ll find some food,
And then I’ll be back again.’

Griselda clung, and she said, ‘Don’t go!
You will only come to harm,
I’d rather starve in the bunker here
And die in my lover’s arms.’
But Karl said, ‘Ack! I will venture back
If it takes both tooth and claw,
I need to feed mein liebchen up
So we’ll both survive the war.’

The streets were almost impassable,
Incendiaries had been dropped,
And flames were busy engulfing rows
Of houses, Inns and shops,
He raided stores still racked in flames
Found pumpernickel bread,
And a pound or so of cheese, and Schnapps,
Before he had turned and fled.

He watched as the Russian tanks went by
And the men with their evil eyes,
Their crazed Mongolian faces made him
Stop, dig in and hide,
But when he had made his way back to
The bunker, forced the door,
He saw the blood where Griselda lay
Quite naked, down on the floor.

They’d all had their evil way with her
While his love lay still, and stared,
They’d finished her with a bayonet
While he had foraged for bread.
He cried, and he lay beside her then,
'I shouldn’t have gone, ’ he said,
'I'll never be late, my bride, again, ’
Then he put a gun to his head.

22 June 2013

Submitted: Saturday, June 22, 2013
Edited: Saturday, June 22, 2013


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Comments about this poem (Alisa by David Lewis Paget )

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  • Lorraine Colon (6/23/2013 4:44:00 PM)

    Great story, such a sad ending.

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  • Pradip Chattopadhyay (6/22/2013 4:11:00 AM)

    The pangs of war and the scars they leave! A grim reminder through this heart-touching poem. Great work David.

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