Zerfallender Kampfgraben ~ Collapsed Trenches

In the aftermath, in Dresden
my new objectivity was too real
and confronting for the Weimar Republic
and its brown shirt undertow.
And as their tide reached high water,
my teaching post, lost
lest I infect the young with truth
I moved to the south to Lake Constance
ordered to paint peaceful landscapes

But this is the landscape of my life
the landscape of war that etches itself
in my nightmares and dreams
it itches my skin in the scars and puckers
of my shrapnel pitted wounds

After the nine day barrage at the Somme
everything we’d packed into the trench wall
buried out of sight and scent
cascaded like a muddy, bloody waterfall
and bathed the corpses baking in the sun
nibbled by the dainty, tearing teeth
of Hamelin’s scourge, the only living thing
apart from me, it seems.

I am posed in a still life
bleeding slowly beneath an uprooted tree
languid limbs are draped or dangling free
spines scoliosed in curls and loops
prison bars of rib cages cracked open
skulls rotted clean to greasy marbled bone
this landscape is my legacy for you.

Featured image

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2 Comments

Filed under Art, Poem, War

2 responses to “Zerfallender Kampfgraben ~ Collapsed Trenches

  1. This one I’ll have to read and reread to fully uncover and appreciate. Looking at the image evokes emotions which match the words and leave one with much to ponder.

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  2. magicpoet01

    This poem is one of several I performed at the Art Gallery of South Australia when there was an exhibition of the War etchings of Otto Dix. I suggest you go to the National Gallery site to view the plates. There is also a tour you can take on line (with music) discussing the works. It gives the German perspective on WWI. Dix was later harassed by the Nazis. http://nga.gov.au/dix/

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