Sins Of The Fathers - Poem by Laurence Overmire
In Seventeen Hundred and Forty Nine
A long ago lost relation of mine
Sailed from Germany
Never to return.
Across tormented seas
He launched his spirits
Cast his dreams
To set foot at last
On soil Philadelphia
And in the decades furling hence
His blood traversed
At last to me
A legacy he could not foresee
To be German
In the twentieth century.
I look in horror
Detached and yet
Of mutilations, deaths
Committed by an alien hand
The bony fingers stretched
My blood revolts
Impassioned by the faint “Sieg Heils”
Still drumming through the marrow
The cold hard stamp of jack boot feet
The crisp salutes, heels clicking on cement
Jawohl! Jawohl! Jawohl!
Sieg Heil! !
Awakened in the dead of sleep
Sweat dripping from the chin
Fingers clutch the windpipe
Eyes wide in disbelief
Six million lie in unmarked graves
We weep our disremembered tears
And in our righteous seeming fury
Cry what devil hath made you German!
‘Twas enough to be a man.
(Previously published in Ygdrasil, Nov.1999)
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