Escape from Nazis …


III. Escape

For months we had studied to expose a weak spot

rehearsing in code with the Nazis at earshot.

They bunked us on slabs that were ten feet by twelve

A communal toilet our treasure not even a shelf


We drummed up ideas to make our escape,

Some were of folly and some held debate

The Nazis were clever they countered our plots

The sand there was yellow and easy to spot.


The muck of the mud and the yellow distinction

The sands didn’t mesh they were contradistinction.

So devious and clever these Nazis sure were,

yet their heinous behavior I deeply demurred.


Collapsible sand meant tunnels were poor

And structural integrity was weak at the core.

Design features kept us from delving new tunnels

The height factor kept us from under the hovels.


They raised all the bunkers 2 feet off ground

with seismic recorders to catch all the sounds

The Luffwaffe and Weirmacht took turns holding station

With newcomers vetted to halt infiltration.


How silly there were though, to educate us,

with language, and theatre as one syllabus.

Despite what you heard of, some guards acted civilly

The Luffwaffe with flyers took favor implicitly.


With pity at the vanguard, their craft and the valor,

With casual asepsis removed from the squalor

The flyboys were privileged in definite aspects

But make no mistake it was farthest from respect…


That night,

We busted the door, and broke down the gate,

Fixing the fire pins, and consenting to fate

We rose up the guns we took from the guards,

Pulled back on the hammers and rushed to the yard


My blood pressure soaring, my body on fire,

The spotlights descending from towering spires

I looked through my optic and shot out the lights

Reloaded my weapon and waned into night


We ran towards the forest and gathered our ranks

The moonlight was fading and darkness was blank

A cold sky of velvet was eerie and void,

The silence disturbing, alertness deployed.


In steps coming edgy, the floor branches cracked

The Nazis were monsters you should not attract

These forests had camps and strongholds abound

But all here was quiet not even a sound.


In a way life itself had been dispossessed

And the silence for the trees had come now to rest.

The shapes in the mud were not really formed

Perhaps some were fresh from the last winter storm.


The woods left abandoned and life was effaced

forsaken the corpses their skin was disgraced

Some people held close to their pain and their grief

With crosses clenched tightly they found their relief.


The mood was so somber, the air was so still

Echoes made crackles of the hearts broken will

I saw in the carnage a late wilted rose

And that night my tears had dowsed like a hose.


I fell to my knees in cigarette ash

Hoping the moment would just come and pass

The platoon I was leading was ravaged and weak

Morale was in freefall the moods were still meek.


Weeks had gone by without seeing sun,

Its gilded pseudoscience so heavenly spun

But still in its stead, the drifts of grey smoke,

the churning of death perfuming the sky never cloaked.


And with crippling hands the soul purges form,

As mites of rot corrode and embers still swarm.

I took one glance up to the opaque like skies

The earth was spent from tears it no longer cries.


Its husk lays there dying from wounds very deep,

with inhabitants sickly and driven to sleep.

The masses out droning for peace or for death,

their leaders not willing to spare one more breath.


And the earth falls asunder under missile and mortar

reluctantly losing its sons and its daughters.

But we remain stubborn, insistent on life

Not stopping nor resting ‘til we’re home with our wives.


We hunted our breakfast and lit a small fire,

The rations were empty, the waters expired.

My judgment would bar me from certitude’s wing,

I sat there so helpless recalling all things


The scent of the orchards, the smell of the rain,

The sea and the hours alone in my brain

Since darkness inquired my services soon

I spoke up so sternly saying charge at high noon.


I wanted it over, I wanted to die,

The late nights were times I’d just sit there and cry.

We were dredging for days not finding a soul

We killed every creature, even cooked up a foal.


But stridden our passage, to find our way home,

Losing some soldiers in the night winters moan.

I once was a medic, a chaplain a time or two

I tried to revive them, but already knew…


From being malnourished our bodies were frail

To track us was easy on our indolent trail

But still we would slow down and bury them right.

We’d garnish the dirt mounds with crosses of white.


All were our brothers and deserved proper rites

Saluted for those cold days, admired for those sleepless nights

Though some were just faces there still lived a bond,

one ‘til this day that’s continued to live on.


And those nights in anguish, which now they’re spared

Those lesioned hearts, that were raped and bared,

Were pierced with sorrow and smeared with anger,

now are resting in peace far away from the rancor.


Embattled we were with no torch or a guide

The days were so endless the night time’s deprived

The radio was silent but just for a sec,

I remember hearing something, so I went and I checked.


A voice in plain English was barking commands

A voice on the box we’d all understand.

We listened in hard, deciphering codes

I heard in the message we’re by a railroad


Battalions had gathered to wipe out this train

A beast of such armor it stultified planes.

We leapt in a hurry and made up our minds

The fates in our favor, the stars had aligned.


As dumb luck had freed us from ominous claws,

I stood to salute Him and gave Him applause

He deemed us essential to be in His plan,

The Lord gave us courage to help make a stand.


With drive and desire we packed up our sacks

Reloading the ammos we found on our track.

In hopes to enliven that warlike composure

We psyched ourselves up as we got even closer


The weakness of starving had melted away

It was time for the soldiers to come save the day

Upon the horizon between all the snow

The camos of Sherman’s ignited and shone…


Word throughout camps was that train was derailed

The previous soldiers had won without fail.

It gave us a moment to regroup our thoughts

Gung ho to vapid, our courage had throttled for naught.


When given a moment we cherished it so,

A few sovereign breaths removed from infernos

We sat by the rummage, the shit and smoke,

Lit up a fire reminisced and we spoke.


That night went so smooth, my eyelids were thankful,

then sirens began wailing and the peacetime was cancelled

The panzers were coming, the Wehrmacht on blitz

A hopeful bulge through the center, our defenses to split…


….To be continued


Paul Neglia

Proud father of 3. Part time writer of poetry and short stories. I want to paint the world in but a few words.
Paul Neglia

Latest posts by Paul Neglia (see all)


Paul Neglia

Proud father of 3. Part time writer of poetry and short stories. I want to paint the world in but a few words.

8 thoughts on “Escape

  • February 6, 2018 at 4:33 PM

    A poetic tale of WWII so well rendered and enjoyed Paul, filled with all the flare of good story telling. Nice work my friend.

    • February 8, 2018 at 6:10 AM

      Thank you so much Tony. I am glad you enjoyed this.

  • February 6, 2018 at 4:53 PM

    Mesmerizing and tense, very well phrased and the flow is great. Well done, Paul. I enjoyed reading this.

    • February 8, 2018 at 6:11 AM

      Thank you so much Phyllis I am glad you enjoyed this.

  • February 6, 2018 at 7:07 PM

    A great write my dear friend explain their struggle to escape as if you were one among frightens me even to think of those moments while they were trying to escape..hanging onto their lives by a thread and at the same time preparing to face the worst..such a tense and emotive write my friend..thank you so much for sharing..

    • February 8, 2018 at 6:13 AM

      Yeah these stories I’ve been reading are scary to say the least. The atrocities committed during these wars were heinous and disgusting. The rollercoaster of emotions these soldiers must have gone through must have been trying indeed. Thank you so much my friend for your kind words.

  • February 6, 2018 at 8:27 PM

    Wow – I mean Semper Fi, pass the ammunition, and wrap my corpse in an American flag wow – you’ve somehow reached into the very depths of the horrors of war and pulled out it’s still beating heart and before it had a chance to bleed out, you repurposed it into a vessel of the most amazing and emotional memories that all of who served own a tiny sliver of.

    I am humbled by the power of this piece and can only offer you a single word


    • February 8, 2018 at 6:15 AM

      I am so very appreciative of your words Ralph. Thank you so much. I am glad you enjoyed it.


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