World War II



You were a deep mid-winter baby, Harry,
Born in Vienna, the home of art and culture,
Just two years after Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch.

But there was nothing to worry about
In those early years before memory,
When your mum and dad held you in their arms,
In mid-winter afternoon twilight –

Until the Wall Street Crash and depression
Meant the resurgence of fascism,
Militarism, the Third Reich,
Lebensraum, and a Greater Germany,
With a visit to Vienna from Hitler
(The city-birth of his fascism),
After Anschluss in 1938;

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It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

It came upon a midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
When angels bent down to the earth,
And changed machine guns into harps,
And turned leaden bullets into golden carols
That drifted across no man’s land,
And choirs of soldiers joined the angels
In a cease-fire of exultation,
While all the bloodied uniformed citizens
Of heaven above watched as silent knights,
As helmets and caps and whisky and schnapps
Were passed from frozen side to frozen side,
When a Tommy kicked a football up into the air,
And there it stayed, suspended high up in the sky,
Shining for ever in a continent’s memory;
A star of peace in a bleak midwinter’s century.

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My visit to Auschwitz

  Sliding Doors So, it was a simple twist of fate: Rivers near Auschwitz, railways at Auschwitz, Junctions at Auschwitz, Trains from Berlin, Warsaw, Prague and Vienna, So that’s why it was there. I mean, here. But Art imitates Life – or is it Death? The buses...

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Football Time

Football Time 

I was never
 that close to my Dad, He’d had a bad war in the Chindits, And 
fighting behind Japanese lines Gave him
 twenty years of 
mood swings And irrational
 bursts of unpredictable
 temper, But one Sunday 
 after the pub, Out the...

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Porrojmos: the Great Devouring

“Porrojmos” Is what the Roma call the Holocaust – And it came as no surprise To experienced Roma eyes, This “Great Devouring” – For Nazi racial ideology With its delusory biology, Had already said the only way In the bright new day, Where...

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