Billy Pilgrim

dresden-bombing-aftermath

 

The city is a riot of color.

The stones speak as loud as human voices,

the angled streets and the sideways glances

of the citizens walking the pavement stones,

set to music the standards of ancients;

whose strong arms and hands placed

one on top of the other each of these

piles of masonry and copper and plaster.

 

The rhythmic drumming of the corps,

the standards waving in blood red and black,

the invincible façade of order collapsing.

From above, growling, screaming down in whistled kettles,

metal and heavy, the bombs.

Each piece of stone changes chemically,

their hardness turned to chastened crystal

fracturing dense in heat and confusion.

 

As the walls tumble down and children stop

laughing, when art stops being art,

and the men on watch succumb:

There is hardly any sound so loud in the

ear as sudden silence after a storm.

What little remains is confusion and fear;

the casual cruelty invoked in the name of peace

lays to wasted ruin,

Dresden.

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