Herbert Nehrlich

Rookie (04 October 1943 / Germany)

Unconditional - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

'Lay down your arms',
was the command.
As Doenitz hesitated
his men stood silent
their features wooden,
still willing though
to give their all
at his command.

The Fuehrer dead,
the news had travelled
as bad news does
with lightning speed.
Or was it bad
perhaps they would
go home and sleep
for thirty days
of total silence
where not one bomb
or bloody Mauser
would ever dare
to speak out loud.

But here was Ivan,
no sense of humour,
300 thousand had
been lost to take
Berlin at last,
what would be fair
the doubt hung heavy
all cloaked in fear
so close to terror.

Sharp fingernails
were cutting through
their owners' flesh
and breathing stopped
as heartbeats stumbled.

These guys were Russkis
who raped and killed
and drank without
an end in sight.
What cruel quirk
what shameless trick
of fate, so undeserved.

And now the word
'Konetz', the Russian says
they understand
it means the end
and for the first
historic time
the German soldiers
carry out the wishes
of a 'subhuman creature'.
Though happily
and shedding, as they drop
their deadly weapons,
ingrained indoctrination.
They briefly wonder, though
about the meaning
of 'buystro, tovarishtshi'.

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Read poems about / on: fate, silence, sleep, fear, lost, home, rape, soldier



Poem Submitted: Thursday, May 19, 2005

Poem Edited: Tuesday, November 29, 2011


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