U-boat Bunker Valentin
Taken Moment

The Hole

 

At the end
the stretched out gray snake
of reinforced concrete
: 
The hole
, 
very close to the
 river Weser 
Valentin
, 
U-boat bunker.
The echo
of ringing cries of birds
ghostly out of the hole.
In the shadows is water,
yawning emptiness.
Monstrous
, 
designed for an empire
of a thousand years.
An incompletion
: 
the hole.
Gruesome the agony
and the end
of the oppressed slaves
who here labored
in the shaded body of concrete
, 
which devoured them.
A memorial
that remains here perched
as a gray snake
on the pebbles of the Weser.
Only the stream continues to flow
, 
indicating
to the days of malice
: 
Skinning of humanity
in Germany.
A
 monument for reflection.
The hole.

 

Günter Heuzeroth, 1994

 

Printed by kind permission of Günter Heuzeroth.

All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

U-Bootbunker Valentin
Momentaufnahme

Das Loch

Am Ende
der ausgestreckten grauen Schlange
aus Stahlbeton:
Das Loch,
ganz nah am Weserstrom.
Valentin,
U-Bootbunker.
Das Echo
von schallenden Vogelschreien
geisterhaft aus dem Loch.
Im Schatten steht Wasser,
gähnt Leere.
Monströs,
für ein Reich
von tausend Jahren gedacht.
Ein unvollendetes:
das Loch.
Grauenhaft die Qual
und das Ende
der erdrückten Sklaven
die hier schufteten
im schattigen Leib aus Beton,
der sie verschlang.
Ein Mahnmal
das hier hocken bleibt
als graue Schlange
auf dem Weserkies.
Nur der Strom fließt weiter,
hinweisend
auf die Tage der Niedertracht:
Enthäutung von Humanität
in Deutschland.
Ein Denkmal zum Nachdenken.
Das Loch.

 

Günter Heuzeroth, 1994

 

Gedruckt mit freundlicher Genehmigung von Günter Heuzeroth.

Alle Rechte Vorbehalten.

 

 

 

 

 


The Doctor's House

 

The pre-war house, in the small hamlet of Bremen-Farge, was enviable then.

 

Sweeping acres that reached the River Weser are now built upon; the gardener at pains to

account for the amount of work he did on a cup of coffee and a bratwurst sandwich.

 

Some of the trees still grow there; the Germans had a passion for woodlands which hid their

sins.

 

The slave and the son bridge fifteen years of age and revel in memories of childish escapades

identifying the branch where the swing hung.

 

The monster of Bunker Valentin, that incubated on the riverbank is obscured, natal noises

silenced, the gaping hole where St. George punctured it                                               remains.

 

The older man remembers the gravel driveway which he raked, particularly, for appearance,

not Zen harmony,

the cellar where he escaped the typhus epidemic, the holes for the clothesline poles on which

Frau doctor hung his rags, respite from hell.

 

Her children, his salvation, blossoming through nightmares a chiaroscuro of souls caught up

in the strangle of brutish madness.

 

The two men are gently admonished when they forget that they are guests at a stranger's

house, eager to see the floor hand-scraped of varnish, jostling to stare through windows,

enthusiasm jigsaws their reminiscences.

 

Villagers try to comprehend, spouses try to comprehend, victims cannot comprehend the guilt

the children bear.

 

The paving on the patio has neglected moss; lack of cheap labour.

 

A rusted, splayed hand points to ruins as sunsets follow sons going down.

 

Through the grout on the doctor's patio a tenacious forget-me-not grows.

 

                                                                               

                                                                                ©Helen Dempsey January 2017

Printed by kind permission of Helen Dempsey.

 

All Rights Reserved.

 


Heroes.

 

Don't speak to me of heroes until you've heard the tale

of Britain's merchant seamen who sailed through storm and gale

to keep the lifelines open in our nation's hour of need,

when a tyrant cast a shadow across our island breed.

Captains, greasers, cabin boys, mates and engineers

heard the call to duty and cast aside their fears.

They stoked those hungry boilers and stood behind the wheel

whilst cooks and stewards manned the guns on coffins made of steel.

They moved in icy convoys from Scapa to Murmansk

and crossed the Western Ocean, never seeking thanks.

They sailed the South Atlantic where raiders lay in wait

and kept the food lines open to Malta and the Cape.

Tracked by silent U-boats which hunted from below,

shelled by mighty cannons and fighters flying low,

they clung to burning lifeboats where the sea had turned to flame

and watched their shipmates disappear to everlasting fame.

I speak not of a handful but of thirty thousand plus,

some whose names we'll never know in whom we placed our trust.

They never knew the honour of medals on their chests

or marching bands and victory or glory and the rest.

The ocean is their resting place, their tombstone is the wind,

the seabirds' cry their last goodbye to family and friend.

Freighters, troopships, liners and tankers by the score,

fishing boats and coasters, two thousand ships and more

flew that proud Red Duster as they sank beneath the waves

and took those countless heroes to lonely ocean graves.

Their legacy is freedom to those who hold it dear,

to walk with clear horizons and never hide in fear.

So, when you speak of heroes, remember those at sea

from Britain's Merchant Navy who died to keep us free.

 

 

David Partridge 2002

Printed by kind permission of David Partridge.

All Rights Reserved.