Rubble Children

Rubble Children, Trummerkinder

Lent, Fastenzeit, 1945

Ash adrift a winter waste bin,
Screeching, screaming sirens howling
Your name teardrops from the sky
Brilliant explosions, cued timpani
Flames lick up the dead
Dresden already a distant dream
Your head pressed tight against the wall
Numbers tumbling from your lips
15, 16, 17

A sluice of armament batters sword and mitre
St. Kilian deconstructed; dome, skulls,
Jewels pulverized, a slab
Steeped in hate. God’s punishment,
Denial, confession, lacking redemption—
Flashes of sulphur-lit Latin recitations
A crime photo, offer no comfort.
Fear in beat with a child’s heart,
Come visit unanswerable memory.

Death then slipped through your hair
A friend, his smoky arm casually
Draped across your shoulders in
Comfort, his exhalation, acrid and cool
Whispering the names, not yours
Soothing this quiet, startling this absence.
Child of war, your world concaved
A game of tag, once counted down
Free to open your eyes.

Summer Solstice, Sonnenwende, 1952

Quiet, unassuming and plain
Offer no distraction
Just the scent and proximity of youth
A garden gate to the churchyard
Forbidden beckoning whispering glances
Igneous hair escapes
Moist against your neck
Bells ring and turn away, faithful
Full of doubt

Cleansing bonfires rage internal,
Not quite twice as old, time stands still this day
Tamped down by the result
The witch of memory burns at the
Stake of your pagan heart
Allowing life to start anew
Dancing in the silken meadow
The garden mocked by earthly delight

Trummerfrauen have rebuilt the city,
But not your heart, your life.
The architect of sex, an embrace,
Fleet, he turns and slips away
From you. Alone, again, head down and
Pressed against the marble you count
…10, 11, 12, eins, zwei
A child, those memories, the transept
The choir aloft by the will of the dead.

Winter, 1961

The window clatters open, pulleys and weights
Jangle in the jamb
The warmth of the room across his back
As he leans out the window in the cold
Darkness beckons a long bony finger
St. John’s siren call vying with the
Deep buttery love behind him
Snowflakes, butterfly wings fall
On paper, a black flannel cerement.

Gently, a mother’s hand, not yours, pulls him
Back, their heads together examine the
Captured snowflakes, downy crystalline
Feathers before they evaporate in the warm
Room, leaving damp shadows of their lives
Blacker than the paper itself. When she looks
At him all he sees is love, but she, she
Sees a life quickly melting, not her
Creation, faceted, intractable.

Trummerkind, rubble child, rebuilt
Stone by stone, stick by stick
And yet, unhurt through generosity
Giving away your life and childhood
To gain it back a wink a blink
A nod a skip of the heart
Such tenderness comes
Dancing in a penumbra
An arm hooked through yours.


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Copyright notice

© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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