[minstrels] Vergissmeinnicht — Keith Douglas

Ξ March 20th, 2006 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Words |

    Vergissmeinnicht "forget me not"

    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.

- Keith Douglas -

(The photo by Robert Capa, taken during the Spanish Civil War, is probably the first to capture someone being killed in 'action')


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