Electrosmog lights up the smoke, out of order, out of time, like a poem moved by dilemmas for its own sake, but no easy kinship for the desolate sweep. Stephen Spender gets out his Poems of 1933. It is inscribed as an oracle "For Horst Keller as a souvenir of Oxford London Berlin from Stephen Spender / March 11, 1933." Spender writes in his Journal "I met [Horst] on the Hook of Holland boat once, shortly before Hitler’s rise to power," twelve days after the Reichstag fire (27 Feb 1933).
Fast forward to the Colorado late at night, edge of a lunar eclipse, Halloween with fires, rooftops aflame amid calls on civilization to surrender to what it does not believe, that bizarre Earth burrowers, mole prophets claim. Who can understand an illiterate analogy of seventy five postwar German years to manufacture American peace? Time, upset by its recurrence, brings Weimar out of the smoke with the same "unhappy, pained, gentle creatures who represent the heart of another Germany, and do not understand what is happening to them… peculiar whiteness and stillness of their eyes which seem to have been drained of pigment…How closely I press upon a secret! Why am I always attracted by these desolate spirits?" (Stephen Spender, Journals, 1939-1983, 30).
Which do you prefer, 20th century prewar Germany or 21st century prewar America? Stephen says, Watch the hawk with an indifferent eye, that almost won War on the sun until the hands, wings, are found (Poems, 1933, 11). As if it were the best of all possible worlds with the Trojan Horse outside the gate, Leviathan come to land, we find the eyes and hands, and then the tongue.
Hitler's "rise" ended in March 1933 after the Reichstag adopted the Enabling Act of 1933. President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler Chancellor on 30 January 1933 after elections and intrigues. Then Hitler used The Enabling Act to constitutionally exercise dictatorial power without legal objection.
Spender says, "Horst was the son of a general. And now at least four names crowd on to me I remember. Many are aristocrats and often close to the higher ranks of the army. This boy called Horst had a round face with very well-formed features, delicate lips, light blue eye, and brown hair of an almost feathery lightness. He was very quiet and polite and he had some small, out-of-the-way interest – playing the flute or making musical instruments or something. There’s really nothing much more to it than that. He had a scholarship at Oxford and I used to call on him there; we went for walks and I introduced him to Isaiah Berlin. But he never in the least became part of the life at Oxford...one of those unhappy, pained, gentle creatures who represent the heart of another Germany, and do not understand what is happening to them. I have touched a deeper chord than I knew here, for Have I not met two or three? Didn't I know very well the peculiar whiteness and stillness of their eyes which seem to have been drained of pigment? These poor ghosts are really beautiful in a sexless way, because, if one is a young man of another country, an exile in one's own, one cannot expect to be virile. How closely I press upon a secret! Way am I always attracted by these desolate spirits?" (Journal. 1985, 30)
People who liked this also liked
Poem of the Week
Story of the Week
Most Popular Graphic Art of All Time
I'll Meet You There:
by Raisa Ahmed
Full embed displays the entire work in a small box. Readers can scroll through the entire work, including author bio.
Short embed shows a quick snippet of the work, with a link to the full content on Red Fez.