Herbert Nehrlich

Rookie (04 October 1943 / Germany)

The Hun - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

He could not be an addict, that he knew.
So much pure selfishness, worn on the skin.
He saw the world as something of a zoo,
the one they built a wall through, in Berlin.

Defiance was religion, his bible a conspiracy,
it was temptation from within which would
see sly manoeuvres late at night against bureaucracy,
at times he wore a cap, and once, a hood.

A wall you say, built out of concrete in Berlin?
Shoot those who move, as an example, in cold blood.
It was a magnet and it drew him there to grin
at heavy weapons and at soldiers' boots in mud.

He made a business, to help those who had done
no wrong but shook their little heads just once or twice.
The first time that they faced a gleaming gun
their heart acquired a small section of pure ice.

They did it well, he and an old but trusted friend,
until the day they saw the movement in the dark.
There was no moon but in the very bitter end
a German Shepherd caught him, silently. No bark.

Eighteen were taken by the STASI to their doom,
they would be gone forever, never to return.
Unmarked, no visitor would find the tomb
The STASI made the citizens sit up and learn.

He was the only one that day to get away.
Clinging to water pipes beneath the moving train.
Then swam the Havel to the hills of Wannsee Bay,
slept in the cabin of a state-owned supercrane.

It did not dent his raging spirits, not at all.
When morning broke he swung the hook into the frames
he saw the building slowly crumble and then fall,
then he sat fire and just sat and watched the flames.

They had assembled all the gear, the fire trucks,
tanks, soldiers even copters now appeared,
and they were sitting there like dumb and silly ducks,
it was a masterpiece that he had engineered.

They blew around, in bits and pieces of burned flesh.
No screams were heard that morning, men must quickly die.
He smiled and mumbled 'it's my private Bangladesh',
and did not think of any mother who might cry.

It was revenge, which is the language of those lost,
he tasted fear now and his eyes began to dim,
this was a battle worth the real human cost,
it changed the man inside, it wiped all spots off him.

There was no luggage he could take, just worn out shoes,
he carried attitude, the one that hadn't grown.
Time had advanced indeed to sing the holy blues
his inner thoughts became, not ever, widely known.

There was the womanfolk who came to him to dance.
Breasts made him salivate and thighs were angels' gifts.
A nymphomaniac with quite asocial plans,
he found them easily and often stopped the lifts.

Things settled soon, he'd had his frequent fill,
there was discovery of something less mundane,
although he carried still the baggage of the kill,
there was a sign that he might some day become sane.

A phase of using was a shock even to self,
he milked the udders and then let the cows go join
their bosom sisters, while he searched for just one elf
to still the fever and the fire in his groin.

Decades flew by while folks went on with what folks do,
he'd seen it all now, felt the pains and velvet skin.
And near a swivel chair he met the one called YOU,
she wore an air of expectation on her chin.

They soon hooked up, just for awhile, some gods approved,
there was the usual, with the carnal and the talk,
before he had to, so he said, before he moved
they had a long and final melancholy walk.

But something had, or so the autopsy revealed,
attached itself to tissue in his happy heart,
and there it stayed, from prying eyes as well concealed,
and made a room there for itself, a work of art.

Each time the valve of his big drum went open-close
she would get startled, but in time she quite preferred
the little murmurs made of poetry and prose,
though there was fear when on occasion the beat erred.

She stayed as resident, elusive and obtrusive,
for one small lifetime to the day when it was time
and then she uddered some benign and inconclusive
sweet words of greeting, to the music of a chime.

Perhaps explosions could have scrambled his cognition,
and all the thoughts are not the birds that entertain,
if rabid bats have schemed in Hell to launch this mission,
all thoughts of harmony and peace have been in vain.

To gain some space and get new clarity he saw
the Cantadora who is keeper of all tales,
'There is no shame and not the whisper of a law
for any human but the Royal Prince of Wales.'

He nodded, sitting at a boulder in her cave,
aware that there was living in his heart of hearts
her spirit which emitted, wave for wave
the whispers of sweet pheromones, not mentioned in the charts.

So, now he knew he had become a victim
of an addiction which dates back to Paradise
the thought alone, no dull obiter dictum
brought tiny tears to what she liked so much, his eyes.

With Love to my kindred spirit CRA., without whom the sun would
take up residence behind a cloud and who will always be treasured
as a guest, in that little room, next to the aortic valve.


Comments about The Hun by Herbert Nehrlich

  • (11/3/2007 5:09:00 AM)


    Epic is the word, indeed. One of your most vivid and finely portrayed pieces, IMHO. t x (Report) Reply

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  • (11/3/2007 2:14:00 AM)


    Herbert, what a fascinating tale of Germanic violence, revenge and redemption. The pace of the poem works well to drive the narrative and the personalizing of the aortic device (pacemaker?) as a loving muse is particular appealing. As Jerry would say, I dips me lid. A grand epic of a poem. love Allie xxxx (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, November 1, 2007

Poem Edited: Thursday, April 21, 2011


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