Fair Exchange

Fair Exchange

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

Two soldiers sat in the rubble

Out by the Berlin autobahn,

Schulz had once been an artist, while

Ludwig came from a farm,

They huddled down as the allied planes

Roared over, dropping their bombs,

The war was pretty well done with,

They were going back to their homes.

 

Their Units long had been shattered

As they retreated over the Seine,

While Hitler raved in his bunker

That they should hold out, just the same,

They knew their lives would be forfeit

If they were seen there, out in the street,

So only moved in the darkness,

Prayed for the peace that came with defeat.

 

They each of them carried a shoulder pack

Of things they were taking back,

Some bread, a twist of tobacco

Something to barter for Cognac,

Ludwig’s pack seemed to wriggle about,

To Schulz it was awful big,

And so, to allay curiosity,

He told Schulz, it was a pig!

 

‘I’ll need it back on the farm,

Something to breed from in the peace,

The army took all our livestock,

And the farm is still on a lease.

My wife is probably starving

And the kids won’t know me at all,

I found it in a deserted farm

And I plucked it over a wall.’

 

‘And what have you got in your pack,’

Ludwig asked, ‘a chicken or two?’

‘Or maybe a slice of bratwurst,

Give me a look, I’m hungry too!’

‘Nothing that you could eat,’ said Schulz,

‘I’ve a painting by Matisse,

Part of the plunder of Goering,

Fell off a truck that was heading east.’

 

The ground was shaking with falling bombs,

They had to cover their ears,

‘I’ve had enough of this war,’ said Schulz,

His eyes were filling with tears,

Then out of the firestorm came a man

Stumbling through the gap,

With an SS badge at his collar

And a Death’s Head badge on his cap.

 

He pulled out his Luger, covered them,

And sneered at the uniform,

‘Another couple of cowards, eh?

You’ll wish you’d never been born!

The Fuhrer says I should shoot you now,

So tell me, why should you live?’

‘The war is done, if you let us run,

We may have something to give.’

 

So Ludwig opened his pack a shade

And showed the soldier his pig,

‘You can have yourself a mighty roast,

You won’t find another as big.’

‘And you, what prize can you offer me?’

‘I’ve got a real Matisse…’

‘I’ll take it all,’ said the SS man,

‘It’ll sit on my mantelpiece!’

 

He took the packs and he backed on out

Went stumbling out in the blitz,

When suddenly there was an awful blast

And the man was blown to bits.

‘The pig must have wriggled and pulled the pin

Of the hand grenade in the pack;

We can thank the gods, or providence,

That could have been me in the hat!’

 

The SS cap was covered in blood

Had landed at Ludwig’s feet,

He grinned at Schulz, said: ‘Fancy that!

I hope you can be discreet.’

‘There goes a priceless Matisse,’ said Schulz,

‘But fair exchange, if we live,

I’m sorry about your porker, but

There are several types of pig!’

 

David Lewis Paget

© 2012 David Lewis Paget


My Review

Would you like to review this Poem?
Login | Register




Featured Review

Oh this is good and the final line like one of mine cinches the case up quite well.This a great piece Though the world has forgotten for the most part that war so long ago.i am sure it still fresh in your mind from the family telling you of it all.How many poems this year so far dave?

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

David Lewis Paget

7 Years Ago

113 Tate!



Reviews

Bravo David. Each line is a poem in itself, if that makes sense. Your imagination and talent is beyond compare. Loved it!

Posted 2 Years Ago


Oh this is good and the final line like one of mine cinches the case up quite well.This a great piece Though the world has forgotten for the most part that war so long ago.i am sure it still fresh in your mind from the family telling you of it all.How many poems this year so far dave?

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

David Lewis Paget

7 Years Ago

113 Tate!
[send message][befriend] Subscribe
Mic
Ha! Prefer railroad graffiti to Matisse, but I do appreciate a good barbecue...

Excellent tale David, as only you could create. Seemed a fair trade to me!

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

David..you are a riot..it seems when ever I feel down you come up with something to make me chuckle..I thought this was great.... I am also praying for Israel...as you know..I am Jewish on my mom's side..Love and God bless..Kathie

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

[send message][befriend] Subscribe
Aya
There are no noble men here in this poem, the human instincts in top the the soliders are seeking for their benifits and whatever they wore behind their backs means nothing they'd run or make a deal, they are very much missplaced.
I like the ending though a painting is wasted there will be one dream left .
Great write


Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A fair exchange indeed! There is always a sacrifice to make too. In this case just a pig to get a pig. I liked the double meaning of the trade here. Trade the packs for their lives then trade the value in their packs to rid the world of scum!
Great story again.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This has a fair, funny twist at the end. It was a just exchange after all. Worse that the painting was destroyed than the pig...after all, "There are several types of pig!"

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

441 Views
8 Reviews
Rating
Added on November 15, 2012
Last Updated on November 15, 2012
Tags: Berlin, SS, Luger, pig

Author

David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



About
more..

Writing

Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..