Strange Stars, und Kaltgestellt

If it is dark enough you can see the stars.

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My father was interned in Australia during WWII  (Internment Dates, on Jupp’s site).  For two years he had to sit idly behind barbed wire while his wife and his friends fought the Nazi regime whichever way they could.  His chance to join the fight again would eventually come, but between June 1940 and the fall of 1942, there was nothing to be done but wait and make the best of an impossible situation, following good old Stoic principles.  Looking at all his letters, musings and poetry, and how he used his internment time to reflect, learn and get ready, I am sure that the man who was arrested in Sheffield, England in 1940 would not have been able to do what the man that parachuted into the Emsland in September of 1944 did.  But the years of internment prepared him, explicitly so, as the second poem states (alas!, in German).

Several of his notebooks from that time have been preserved, and we have published a good many excerpts from letters and other things he found noteworthy on his website.  Here are two poems that reflect his mood, one in English, one in German:

Strange Stars

Strange-stars-stranger-trees

 

Strange stars are looking down
Through the branches of stranger trees.
Mars is glittering sinister in the East,
While Venus has gone to the West.
And we are left alone,
Alone
In the cold of a foreign Summer.

(Tatura, Vic., August 28th, 1941)

 

Kaltgestellt

Hier ist es fremd
Und kalt im Mai.
Mein Kopf ist krank und leer.
Ein langes Jahr
Ist schon vorbei.
Die Moewe zieht zum Meer.

seagulls Frederick Judd Waugh

Der Regen tropft
Aufs Wellblechdach.
Der Wind weht frei und weit.
Ein Herz verinnt
Im Stacheldraht.
Ein Geist macht sich bereit.

Noch tobt der Kampf
Um frei zu sein
Da draussen in der Welt.
Uns sperrten sie
Derweilen ein!
Uns hat man kaltgestellt. –

Wir zagen nicht,
Wir glauben fest
Bis unsre Stunde schlaegt.
Aus weichem Stoff
Wird harter Stahl
Der neue Werte praegt.

(Tatura, Vic., September 1st, 1941)

 

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