Herbert Nehrlich (04 October 1943 / Germany)
Buried In The West
They had expected it,
that greasy, yellow fog
zigzagging from the one
then to the other lamps
out on the silent street.
The would, of course
be vigilant tonight,
it was their only chance
and the alternative was death.
Tomorrow all would dance
in celebration of the first of May,
the day that workers had,
through Lenin's grace
gained freedom all at once.
There would be, for some time
the sound of guns, more distant now,
as stragglers came to grips
with their own destiny and fears.
It was not theirs, would never be,
this paradise designed in Hell,
let others stay and dance
and kiss their masters' feet,
and listen to the Kremlin's brazen bell.
Berlin had been too far for them to go,
one needed proper documents and guts,
there was no moon tonight but bloody fog,
all three could clearly hear a barking dog.
Pines swayed and creaked as if to shout
a warning and to hurry them,
a rabbit out too late in frozen fear,
the freedom whistle of a foreign train
as terror crawled into heroic hearts.
They'd stitched the fabric over many weeks,
Bulgarian canvas, just imported, but for tents.
A harness borrowed from the country fair
and handkerchiefs to button up the leaks.
Propane had been the worry all along,
they'd stolen just one tank from the old school,
the gas hissed out, igniting as a flare,
and now it grew into a circus tent and more,
each man strapped tightly to their chairs
then they were off into the darkness of the night.
The wind had woken now and helped to make them go,
there was the image of a happy Milky Way,
full steam ahead they sang and watched the giant flame
when shots rang out from fellow citizens of shame.
Too soon they crashed, an urgent, wild descent,
into the river that had promised liberty.
It was the territory of the bold and free.
Four lifeless souls pulled from the water's icy cold,
but the true story, it was never ever told.
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