Jump to content
Poetry Magnum Opus

autobahn (speed check)


Recommended Posts

Sidling, sliding into an evening land,

I can feel when you take me by the hand

how warm you are, how sweet and trusting,

and I feel so … no, please go away, keep away

from me: people can die if you do that.


No, girl, you don’t want to ...


watch me now,

watch me walk down the middle of the street

as the cars come blaring by, with all their

horns and headlights. I don’t care

if the rain comes drizzling, pissing and piddling down,

it's a German rain, not French,

nor Italian … it’s rhythmic, melancholy,

it doesn't say “Heil Hitler”, it speaks

of other worms seeking

modern apples.


Listen to the vicious swish

of car tyres in the rain

as the automobiles sweep by

enclosing (warmly) occupants

laughing and talking

listening to music

nodding happily, iso-

lated and so so blithe so careless:

those shwah shwah swishing little worlds

of smiling strangers.




revised lines:


it says “Heil Hitler”, it says

it’s not over.


the abrupt substitution of "it speaks/ of other worms seeking/ modern apples" may come across as indirect, perhaps even baffling to some. What it means, perhaps not as strongly as before, is that evil never stops, it never ceases to find ways in which to intrude -- but it drops modern Germany off the (single) hook.


Also, I cut the concluding two lines,


who are perfectly prepared to kill you

if their government says so.


since it seemed to blame government-induced murder (also known as War) only on Germans, as if other nations had never (then or since) engaged: this is demonstrably unfair and untrue, since many people driven away from normal everyday behaviour by paroxysms of patriotism have shown themselves capable of inordinate cruelty, as we have seen many times since the conclusion of WWII. Still, the Nazis were something else in the annals of mass destruction, they still stand out!

Edited by dedalus

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi dedalus,


It is so enjoyable to read. The language flows so well with a lively (and rainy) tone. I've read your Italian guy in his shining shoes in your other poem, now you are showing us the German. I can relate "Hitler" to Germany, but I've never seen this aspect of its people as depicted in your poem - where they seem carefree, lighthearted, until the end "who are perfectly prepared to kill...", which gives me a thrill. The line break at the word 'iso-lated', works really well, I think. And all those onomatopoeic words add color to the rainy atmosphere.


Very much enjoyed.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

This has one of those titles which commands attention. You just know it's gonna be good. Then, when I read the poem, I delight in its lyrical qualities. Even the "Heil Hitler" is effectively placed; it's something I just glaze over as the musicality transports me to location. But, for me, the last two lines lessen the lyrical effects I relish, only because I think the same could be said for the masses of any world power. I think the poem would have a more universal, "world" appeal if it ended at "strangers." I want to drop those last two lines and call it my own! But I do get the point. It does seem like some cultures are more warlike than others. And I do wonder why some empires (like the Mongol one) never made a comeback. Either way, it is what it is: a hit with me. Agree with Lake on the onomatopoeia.



Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Frank E Gibbard

I think while adopting the zeitgeist of another as your own voice Bren I felt this fell between two stools in that it seemed subjective yet objective simultaneously because of the final aside (this for what my opinion's worth). I wanted to comment positively as I liked the descriptive narrative and sonic elements a lot but there's something in the raw subject matter (Naziism) I must mention that is a tad discomfiting, unsurprisingly I suppose and no doubt purposed.


While commenting at this visit rare enough and before making off, having been drawn to read the poem as was Tony apparently by the title I did just want to add this piece of further art by Kraftwerk. Something to bathe in and a better part of Germany (new Germany that is). Frank



Edited by Frank E Gibbard
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.