Jump to content
Poetry Magnum Opus

Prague Concerto (got the image I was looking for!)


dedalus
 Share

Recommended Posts

Prague-bridge-winter.jpg

 

Snow in the wind, my thoughts

slide over to the Winter Queen, so easily

brought to mind in this unbombed

Central European city: War, having

taken its pound of flesh from the people

spared its buildings.

 

The Munich betrayal. Heydrich.

No wonder they feel the way they do.

Chamberlain. J’aime Berlin.

 

I visited you before and after.

In the summer of 1989, the border

was a nest of guns and barbed wire

with apologetic young recruits

going through your bags. In 1991,

when I came again with my family,

all of that stuff had gone.

 

The river, the Charles Bridge, the palace,

all of that stuff was still there.

 

The West betrayed you, England and France,

and condemned you to a half-century

of misery: fascists followed by communists,

and if I were Czech, I’d be angry.

 

Surprisingly, you are not angry. Rueful,

I think is the tone. You sure as hell

got rid of the Sudeten Germans, every

last single one of the Nazi bastards,

which in its way is a pity, when you think

 

Of Kafka, for example, no Sudeten farmer,

just a person who thought and wrote in German,

and most of that has been lost. Also Slovakia,

who were not much help to you during the war.

Pity the countries with no seas as shelter!

 

Land borders in Europe pay no attention

to the people who happen to live within them

and never really have. The Versailles Conference,

post-Great War, was supposed to change all that

and didn’t. They simply carved up Europe

and set the seeds for the next great war.

 

And they carved up the Arab world as well,

drawing straight lines with rulers on maps,

setting up "mandates" for France and Britain,

promising everything to everyone, including,

of course, the Jews. Which is why, Ladies & Gentleman,

we get 9/11, the problems that continue today.

 

No, I haven’t forgotten about Prague. The food

improves (MacDonald’s was a step up, if you can imagine!)

and the beer has always been good. It is a quaint

and lovely city with its old clock towers and cobblestones,

with its trace of the nostalgic Old World “Mitteleuropa”,

which hasn’t been seen since the 1930s. America

 

has a great deal going for it, or had at one stage,

but it will never never replace, with its Disney dreams,

the real and honest thing.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From the poem:

 

". . . mandates" for France and Britain,

promising everything to everyone, including,

of course, the Jews. Which is why, Ladies & Gentleman,

we get 9/11, the problems that continue today.

 

Bravo. Politically and poetically.

 

I envy people who can easily enjamb lines. I am wound too tightly, I guess. Your passion is evident.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The history is correct and your usual pragmatic style is highly readable. The family references, the beer, Kafka and MacDonalds all add a human touch to what was an odious episode in Hitlers dark era. "It is a quaint and lovely city with its old clocktowers and cobblestones, with its trace of the nostalgic Old World "Mitteleuropa", which hasn't been seen since the 1930s." Lines that juxtapose skilfully and ironically with St.1.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dedalus, you are such a great story-teller using poetic lines. And how lovely the way you brought us from Heydrich to Disney dreams.

"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

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.

Guest
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.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.