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Tag Archives Germans

A POLITICAL EDUCATION

The hostel women came one summer evening

after tea. The noise brought Judith and me

from hiding-from-the-Germans, our game

in the bushy borders of the gardens

in our block of flats off Finchley Road.

A crowd of women, with some small children –

a few men were outside on the pavement –

were at the back of the building where we were

forbidden to go and the bins were kept.

A row of aspen saplings, planted

alongside the back fence,

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SHOAH

…and, with the film-maker, he returns
to where he sang, as a boy, in a boat;
a prisoner, an orphan, a Jew dumping sacks of crushed bone in the river;
keeping the Germans entertained with the
Prussian marching songs they had taught him –
and the Poles so charmed that, now he has returned
in middle age, they reminisce fulsomely:
bemused, he turns to camera in such pain…

 

 

 

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POW CAMP 57…

…was built on downland beside the golf course

and below detached houses in their own grounds

to house Italians from North Africa

and then, post war, Germans for ‘re-education’,

and, finally, before demolition in

the late ‘50s, homeless British families.

 

A kestrel hovers above the cow parsley.

It stoops, as always unexpectedly,

then rises with a field mouse in its talons

and flies to an oak tree to feed and rest.

In the distance are the towers of Woking

and beyond,

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