Sunday, December 20, 2020

Poltava to Lviv, January 17, 1942

Field marshal, felled by
stroke while jogging at minus 
forty. Passed on plane.

– Leonard Blumfeld (© 2020)

Refers to German field marshal Walter von Reichenau, responsible for the massacre at Babi Yar in 1941. Reichenau was an enthusiastic supporter of sports and went on cross-country runs regularly. Having died in 1942, Reichenau was never convicted of war crimes but most certainly would have had he survived WWII. 
This haiku was indirectly inspired by reading about Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s poem Babiyy Yar (1961), which is about the massacre. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

A lesser known Neruda quote

And when I swanned myself again, I had become my own swimmer, my own beak.

Attributed to Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, translator and source unknown.

Came across this on a social network page today that, going by its other postings, is a jumble of things gleaned from here and there and anywhere. Of course, there was no mention of a source or context. Therefore it’s quite possible that someone made this up and attributed it to a famous poet to elevate its importance.