Layers of Ice

Trapped Under Ice Seems Fitting
For a coat of thorny issues
involving my past descendants
whose deeds I see in Colour on the TV  atrocity after atrocity that bury me under sheets of cold, cold ice.

I don’t know for certain what happened
and for this is not knowing if the unspeakable occurred
in my name was not possible, such was the era
three generations ago in a time of war
when three-quarters of my family were on the good side at home or overseas
Only the family of one was at war and whose SS connections I saw in an album of photos after the death of the remaining close relative and many years after the war.

In an age when poets scrambled overseas to the US and UK away from something so terrible, I know where my sympathies lie.

It is funny how images can haunt you for a life lead in peacetime of poverty and mental health with bulges here and there and you wonder why nothing more came to bear fruit.
Do the crimes of my very distant family have something to do with my present? It seems laughable to think so.

But still I feel a spark buried under layers of ice -What if it had been me asked to wear a uniform that shone resplendency. Would I have resisted the rise of fascism? I’d sure like to think so. Would I have sided with the rising tide? No. Layers of ice, upon layers of ice, impossible to decide.

What is this cypher of questions? What if my family was doing well? Married and happy in the swell. Unsure of which way to turn and dazzled by the lights of a monster being born that looked to the weakness in man to build more and more and more.

Would they hark to the word of a  ner do good poet? A poet who has been crushed under layers and layers of ice until all he can say is ‘yes, I liked it’
When ‘No, I hated it’ was screaming inside. Why should I upset my host when something I pride myself upon is my thickest of hides?
Buts it’s dishonest to lie I hear you cry. Even when it is white? Even when telling the truth would be taken as a slight?
The truth might be buried under cold, cold ice.

Men in uniforms looked so impressive and to a young mind the might of blitzkrieg despite its terrors a monster to behold to a peaceful man of letters.

‘Nan your brother was a monster, a war criminal, an imposter’ And on the losing side in case you lost your roster. What if the unthinkable had occurred and Hitler had won and Buckingham palace was his home and we all spoke German?

Would the ice thin and burn and blister? Would a Nazi marry my sister?

And what of the poet who would witness it shall, he see a Hercules instead of a barbaric shell? Not I should think would his predilections lie but bought and vanity might have loosened his professional pride.


Not in my name but descendency doesn’t run that way, backwards through time into hell. My imaginary ancestor the poet Of Germany Circa 1933. Anathema to fascism, Anathema to greed, Anathema to crimes against humanity. Writing free just like me, on a crusade minus the religious entrapments. Writing Free! Like echoes of eternity.


Published by Andrew Mark Watkins

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