Sunday, July 29, 2012

478. Dietramszell


Hindenburg in his declining years
came often, old Prussian as he was,
to soften the hardness, tamp down
his fears. He was so old, near death.

Each gasping breath brought pain:
He, first to know his time was over,
knew that the War had been long ago
but that the politics would remain.

I imagine him in this Bavarian setting,
the low green slopes and distant mountains,
cap-doffings in the street, “Gruess Gott!”
The greetings of God, Herr Feldmarschall!

His steps would have taken him to the church
which stands still now at the bottom of a hill,
and he would have gone in, the Old Junker,
sweeping aside sectarian differences.

Bavarians were well known for being Catholic,
soft and fond of beer. It took Prussian steel
to instill real fear of God! Pause in the annex:
Fallen for Germany, 241 names, this small town.

Slightly abashed, the Field Marshall proceeds.
The main door is opened and glory explodes:
there is no other word, all is white and gold
and decorative and completely unrestrained!

This is the 18th century brought to life again:
baroque, rococo, architecture possibly designed
by pastry chefs, inedible incredible swirls of plaster.
The Field Marshall blinks once, twice. He smiles.