Herbert Nehrlich

Rookie (04 October 1943 / Germany)

A Visit - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

The doorbell rang, I jumped to see
there stood three men in suits,
and bulges (were they meant for me?)
plus black and shiny boots.
'The President has sent us, Sir',
the bigger bloke had said,
'First Lady likes to smile and purr
when poetry is read,
demands that on her special day
you be there with your stuff,
there will be food and drink and pay,
I tell you off the cuff.
The President requests you write
some poems about war
and how his overwhelming might
goes out to foreign shore.
And kills the rotten terrorists
the enemy of man,
and then compiles a lengthy list
of others, in Iran.
He'd like to hear that he is chief
the one who throws the switch,
so, be creative, never brief
with your poetic Kitsch.'

I saw the bulges and the boots
but had to stand my ground,
I told the men in Brooklyn suits
that I was honour-bound
to my own soul and no one else
and I would thus decline.

Next day my body, full of shells
swam in the river Rhine.

Comments about A Visit by Herbert Nehrlich

  • (4/14/2006 11:52:00 AM)

    Shells do not kill - only the loss of one's dignity and I can see you have plenty of that. Susie. (Report) Reply

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  • (4/9/2006 12:54:00 PM)

    ...while others who accepted this 'invitation' to damnation skipped along holding hands with cowardice, shame, and degradation.
    A powerful piece of writing.
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/9/2006 12:35:00 PM)

    Ahh, , that is what happened when I came to knock at your door, glad to see you are still writing poetry with a body full of shells. Do you know why clams don't share...? Their shellfish...that's why. Good poem, although I could have taken on three blokes for sure. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 8, 2006

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