Sunday, December 16, 2018
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Wax dolls

History - EY History


By John Liddell

A wartime poem. Reflections of Nijmegan bridge, Holland after its capture by 82nd US

Airborne Division September 1944 during Operation Market Garden.


Wax dolls strewn willy nilly,

As by a tantrum child.

Across the side walk, over the tarmac,

Dripping off the girders of the bridge

That Hans built.


The carrier zig-zagged avoiding

Blue blind eyes staring heavenward,

Tip-toeing through the grotesque

Climax to an obscene ballet,

With reverent skill.


Immaculately dressed action men,

Newly torn from pristine shrouds

Sprawled undefiled in rigor mortis,

As the Jingle “One finger, One thumb”,

All movement ceased.


Youths who jived to swing-time charts

In Dust-Bowl Southern States, mingled

Their dun-green camouflage tunics

With field-grey Teuton grenadiers,

A frozen diorama of mortality.


The Horseman stilled his plunging steed

The guns fell silent at his command,

Enough to survey his clinical opus

Allowing fresh actors to consider

The hellish nature of the Beast.


The Cosmos seemed to hold its breath,

In disbelief man should be so bereft of wit

To settle his political disputes

With such monstrous prodigality of flesh;

Spirituality wantonly betrayed.


Across the Bridge the carrier crawled,

The only sound the clank of shrieking tracks.

The quick absorbed the conveyor-belt of carnage

Through horror filtered eyes fearful

Lest the Horseman abrogate his truce.


Beyond the final arches Red Caps lay in wait

Directing us to paths by wind-milled dykes.

We harboured by a Kirk of grub and char.

Our tongues loosed again in bawdy squaddie talk.

The sound of spades delving in the Yard ignored.

Extract EYA Journal 2001

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