Amid the Ashes of the House of Commons — London, May 1941

From I.O.U., Wim’s new book of poems, available at

To mark the end of the London Blitz 80 years ago this month (and also the end of the Trump presidency):

And Churchill wept as he saw his beloved House in ruins. 
—Vernon Bartlett 

Deliverance wears thus a mocking face, 
the last bomb of the last raid 
stabbing sharp and deep into our moral belly. 
How rapidly may men, unteachable from infancy to tomb, 
match long eroding centuries in ruin! 
As England sighs reprieve and licks her wounds, 
you creep amid the rubble toward the Speaker’s Chair 
now pulverized beneath smoking debris, 
inhaling the mortal residue of the Hun’s contempt
for norm and decency and truth and law.

I am a House of Commons man.

Here you first tested your youthful tongue and timbre,
your heavy but not very mobile guns,
urging a principled peace in the war against the Boer.
Heckled and prodded you were by riotous voices
as cacophonous as sirens and bomb blasts,
the warring factions kept from each other’s throats
solely by an invisible barrier of honor,
that inviolable corridor measured across by two swords plus one inch.
This never was meant to be a place of peace.

Upon your cheeks, twin tears cut rivers through the caking dust.
How shall you rebuild?
We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.
The law has ever carved
its own path through the dust of chaos;
men must forever stand aside in humbled awe
and follow its chosen course.
Words are the only things that last forever.
Change nothing, rebuild it as you left and lost it,
so that rivers of words may find their way again
amid moldering wonders of stone, mortar, and timber,
vainglorious and doomed.

I am a House of Commons man.

The carnivorous sheep of the Reich
are done with grazing the bitter weeds of England;
the herd skulks its way toward fatal pastures of the East.
Let Britain prevail;
let the council of Europe join familial hands
and America bring forth her kindred vengeance;
let the sun set forever on the tyrant and his monstrous evil;
let him taste the bile of his transgression;
let presently burst from these coals the cleansing and devouring flame.
The Blitz has ended.
Let the War begin.


(Appeared in Dissident Voice, January 20, 2019.)

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