Panzer

Panzer

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

 

Gretchen wept in her easy chair
And called for her husband, Karl,
They'd been together for sixty years,
Though both were worn and frail.
They'd met in the ruins of München, when
The Reich collapsed and fell,
Escaped to live in Australia
From their own idea of hell.
 
For Karl had served in the Wehrmacht,
In a Tank Corps at Dieppe,
Had served in the Panzergruppe von Kleist
Had roamed the Russian steppes,
His tank had taken him through Ukraine
They'd taken the plains by force,
But found their pain when the Russians came,
In their huge T-34's.
 
But that was the world of way back when,
For Karl was old and grey,
He slept a lot in his tidy home,
The nurse came every day,
His wife developed dementia, she'd
Forget where she used to roam,
So she was parted from husband Karl,
Was sent to a Nursing Home!
 
He walked with the aid of a walking frame,
He couldn't quite get around,
But listened for echoes of Gretchen's voice
In the house that made no sound,
And all he thought was to rescue her,
To bring his girl back home,
But the powers that be said: 'Wait and see!'
She was lost to him - Alone!
 
He went to visit her, once a week,
They held each other's hand,
She cried so much when he had to leave,
She never could understand,
And he was desolate every time,
He'd cling to her so tight,
That they had to prise his hand away
When they sent him away at night.
 
The nurses were harsh and businesslike,
To them it was just a job,
With no compassion for patients, they
Would leave all that to God.
Demented souls ran over his feet
With trolleys and walking frames,
When Karl grew angry, they shrugged and said:
'Well - Everyone complains!'
 
One Sunday, standing outside the doors,
He saw his Tiger Tank,
It growled, and pulled up beside him there
And the diesel fumes, they stank.
He climbed aboard with his comrades there,
And 'Schnell!' they called, to a man,
Then lumbered straight through the double doors,
The nurses turned and ran!
 
The Tiger reared and it turned about
Tore carpet up from the floor,
The tracks ran over the matron's feet,
Let out a fearful roar,
The patients cheered as the Iron Cross
Raced past their common room,
And smashed the glass in the office door,
And crushed the sister's urn!
 
Then Gretchen laughed as he came in sight,
'Here comes my husband, Karl!
He'll break us out of this prison ward,
Can you hear his Tiger snarl?'
He stopped and reached for his Gretchen then
Looked deep in her eyes, and swore:
'I'll not be parted from you again
Though hell should bar the door!'
 
They found them lying together there,
He held her safe in his arms,
They'd gone together where lovers go
Away from the world's alarms.
'He went quite crazy,' the Matron said,
'He must have been insane!'
For lying outside her shattered door
Was his twisted walking frame!
 
David Lewis Paget

© 2013 David Lewis Paget



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Featured Review

I just read this again, Christmas Day! it popped up in some prompt box. I love it. There is a terrible ill-gotten romance to it. We can't like Karl as he was on the losing side which was evil. But he was just another bloke we feel. And then we are sad that the hero becomes just another old geezer struggling with age. Then you turn the tables and make us feel sorry for the old enemy. We even cheer at the notion of his tiger churning up the new nazi in nursing blue. But we then realise that Karl, too, is lost in the rage against age - our common human foe. I'd best not read what I said 7 years back!

Posted 10 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I just read this again, Christmas Day! it popped up in some prompt box. I love it. There is a terrible ill-gotten romance to it. We can't like Karl as he was on the losing side which was evil. But he was just another bloke we feel. And then we are sad that the hero becomes just another old geezer struggling with age. Then you turn the tables and make us feel sorry for the old enemy. We even cheer at the notion of his tiger churning up the new nazi in nursing blue. But we then realise that Karl, too, is lost in the rage against age - our common human foe. I'd best not read what I said 7 years back!

Posted 10 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Greatly written poem and enjoyed by another who survived the Blitz

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

these are so easy to read David and a treasure to keep....You are a master story teller my friend

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Andrew Nelson Stewart Andrew Nelson Stewart
In poetry and to find answers of who we are while walking the ephemeral road upon cracks of pain signs leading you.
Ah, I've heard your legend grow throughout WC and the Internet. And quite frankly, I was intimidated by the sheer genius of your work. I hope you'll forgive me that I cannot quite criticize this poem. I can just read and admire the virtuosity behind this.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I enjoy your epic poetry sooo much..
I think poetry needs to be rhythmic and tell a story or make me think
so I can come back and read again. this is such a poem.
I thought, in proper German it is 'Wehrmacht" which means Wehr (means defence, as the stam word) and Macht (power) I hope, you won't get angry when I tell you. Write on, we love it.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

David Lewis Paget

4 Years Ago

Quite right, Gandre, I missed the 'h' in 'Wehrmacht' originally, went back and changed the original,.. read more
' Then Gretchen laughed as he came in sight, ~ 'Here comes my husband, Karl! ~ He'll break us out of this prison ward, ~ Can you hear his Tiger snarl?'

David, had to re.read this yet again.. and, I'm crying. Dear goodness, this is brilliant, from start to finish, every part of it, the introduction and history of that dear couple, the sadness of their separation, and that glorious finish, with a strange smile on its face. Brilliant,

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is incredible. So many emotions and turns intertwined to make a poetic masterpiece. Absolutely beautiful work.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This brings back memories of a move "The Notebook" I choked up often in that one, brought tears flowing down this poet's cheeks. You beautiful rendition of love till the end is remarkable. Its so sad when dementia sets in and it seems more and more are being diagnosed earlier with it. Must be all the toxins in our food sources. Again, your story telling is bar none, and it hits home with your visuals, one can see exactly what you pen and also feel it. Bravo, well done.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

oH THIS IS SO GREAT yours is bittersweet but so twisted I love the sentiment it is all from the long years of life you show it everytime

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

David, I should long for a love this true...how fine a couple, how much better the write! Having read so much of your work, this surprised me because it didn't end the way I was expecting. The narrative conveys a complete ending; however, and I wouldn't change a thing! Fought back a small tear. I am unsure whether it is from the story or perhaps more from my own inner soul, weeping for that "missing something" in my life. I love this David..I truly do....
Todd

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on October 29, 2009
Last Updated on October 6, 2013

Author

David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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