David Lewis Paget
Panzer - 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 Wermacht,
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!
30 October 2009
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