augury doggerel

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Up past the cemetery where normal folk are buried I find, in a hollow between the trees, a field of metal stars standing upright in the grass. At the closed end of the hollow is a stone platform backed by a curved wall with a bas-relief sculpture of three Soviet fighters. Inscriptions in Polish and Russian declare that the people named here were heroes of the Soviet Union who died flipping Gdansk from the Nazi frying pan. The sculpture and inscriptions are thick with yellow-orange paint, as if they have had to be painted over, over and over.

There are 908 names in Cyrillic, 908 numbered fighters and one unnumbered general. Most died in late March or early April of 1945, which is about when the Red Army burned this city to the ground.

At the other end of the field are gigantic statues of two sad women. The plaque below them, in Russian and Polish, says something like:
Two Fatherlands
Two Mothers
Love and Remembrance
This is where I sit and eat a banana and watch two workers use a pressure hose to clean the wall yet again. The first of November is coming.


Post a Comment

<< Home