Tuesday Poem

Stukas (for Terry Eagleton)

The day we fall in love
with the Stukas of experience
dawns fine: out of a refugee

run sky, the crosses fall.
You bear yourself along
the road with all you

own at noon. The sun seems
somehow German, as the moon
was French last night.

The hour we meet in person
the fascists of conviction
can’t be told: they’ll trial

their new-made weapons on
your ground (they sense a hole
your Fuhrer wants to hide).

In the meantime, it is both
inadvisable and not worth
the candle to avoid what

waits: you just can’t buy
what falls from your personal
sky in the swastika shape.

Tuesday Poem


About paparoa

Writer and researcher.
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5 Responses to Tuesday Poem

  1. S.L. Corsua says:

    Detachment can be tricky business; I’m (mostly) plenty detached when I write, but not so when I read. That’s my shuffling-of-the-feet intro to what I really want to say, in response to the poem. The first time I read it, I had that familiar butter-in-the-frying-pan feel in my chest. It didn’t merely sadden me; it made me sort of want to howl. In shared grief. WWII stories easily surface on the mind and fortify the backdrop of the poem, but it’s the word associations like “run sky, the crosses fall” that elicit a profound emotional effect.

    By the way, I looked up Terry Eagleton online (I’m that nosy a reader, I reckon), and read a review of the book, “Holy Terror.” I’m only guessing the connection. (This is interesting.)

    • Jeffrey Paparoa Holman says:

      Thank you for your welcome comments. The poem was sparked by reading Eagleton’s “How To Read A Poem” (Blackwell, 2007), where he speaks of the relationship between storytelling, tradition and experience. I was thinking about what experience had taught me, principally the difficult “bad” experiences that we tend to complain about and try to avoid and escape.

      I saw an image of the German Ju-87 Stuka dive bombers online (I’m an WW2 aviation buff), and something about the swastikas and the iron crosses kicked it all off. Then the poem began to arrive, so I followed it.

  2. Tim Jones says:

    I get the sense from this of partial identification with “the enemy”: perhaps that’s not what you intended, but it put me in mind of “Jim” in J. G. Ballard’s “Empire of the Sun”, and his identification with Japanese WWII planes and Japanese pilots even though, or because, he was behind the wire of a Japanese internment camp.

  3. Paparoa says:

    Hi Tim
    No, not what I intended at all, but that’s the way of words, the reader reads what the writer writes and makes their own sense of it. Certainly, I’ve been as obsessed with war and planes since the early 1950s as the boy in the film was, and that was a memorable scene for me.

    Stukas for me were a metaphor for fascisim itself, relying on symbols and terror. There will always be bullies and tyrants we can’t avoid – its how we respond to experience that counts. But that is reading back into the poem – I wrote it intuitively.

  4. Hilongos says:

    What makes poetry so wonderful is the fact that it involves all of life, every concern, every desire, and every feeling. If something has some great significance to a person’s existence, then it has a great significance in poetry as well.

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