3.10.11

Sidewalk Poem #15

Bridge Passed

The bridge once passed
My city shows its wrinkles
Deep furrows always empty streets
Dead shops drawn shutters
It's the face it used to have
In the days when witches died
When from slow boats Negroes
In red shirts disembarked
To dissolve in the nights
And impregnated the young virgins
And made the boys dream
Of impossible adventures
It's the face it put on
In July nineteen forty
When young half-naked Aryans
Machine guns at their shoulders
Intoned the Horst Wessel sing
And struck echoes from the walls
Of the never-violated city
Memories lived or learned
Flow together this Sunday
Like the waters of the two rivers
And evening descends slowly
Until night along the embankment
Lights a few streetlamps
Whose reflection at the base of the bridge
Inducted me as a child
Into impossible dreaming

Flow together this Sunday

[Pierre Martory, translated from the French by John Ashberry.]




[German soldiers hanging out in Paris, 1940.]

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