Thursday, 20 November 2014

Journey to Mauthausen

(in process of revision)

through the fog 
it rumbles on and on

i drink czech beer 
and chew brown bread 

exiting tunnel
 from darkness 
 to shapes in the fog 
november covers the fields
 perhaps glimpsed  
by some who passed here before 
on this plain 
with its farms 
and its barns and its trees 
 and tall pylons marching through fields
 through the fog 
the squeal means we halt
time passes slowly
waiting for the connection  
to come   

to return to nikolai-struden

it crosses the danube 
and passes allotments 
under a rapidly darkening sky 
 in woodland more lines 
branching in many directions 
 and goods trains in sidings suddenly glimpsed 
now and then 
    perhaps from here they would walk 
their final few miles to the hill 
    which i do from the village
in memory of them
    through the autumn drizzle 
    shielding the danube shopping park  
the bella flora shop 
the fressnapf pet store
the golden m
and the house of the local celebrity poet 
a mundart dichter  
the gasometers
the barges
the tall chimneys  
the containers on the wharf
and the river

the tiny church
the heinrichkirche 
locked and barred 
aside the night club 
and the psychotherapist

and then the last mile 
up a wooded lane 
i munch my apple 
perhaps to settle the nerves 
  and try to anticipate what i may find  
up ahead 
 what they must have felt 
 hearing the broken cry of the crow 
my solitary unseen companion 

the road levels out 
onto a plateau 
 of silence and furrowed fields  
a glimpse of the river 
white smoke ascending 
from industrial chimneys 
 faint to decipher here through the gloom 
and suddenly 
it seems 
i am finally here 
 beside the clean 
under the long grey wall with its watchtowers
                                            i head for  the ticket office 
to find it is closed 
                                          as is the bookshop 
and the room of the names
and the information desk 
for today is 
a monday 
and the month is november 

Monday 10th November 2014 Mauthausen


  1. Reminds me, Gwil, of a super programme on our television at the moment, when Michael Portillo, with his Bradshaw's Guide, is going on train journeys. Last week in was down the spine of Italy and on to Sicily and this week it was around Poland Iwhat an interesting place it is and what beautiful architecture) - next week Portugal.

    1. It's a train journey that would make a very good TV documentary. Maybe they will do it sometime but perhaps better to do it from the Swiss border and through the sunny Sound of Music landscape before confronting the final shrouded in fog solution.

  2. Death at work in Mauthausen Camp.

  3. It's not the Sound of Music Rachel. But I must have captured the train atmosphere from what Pat says so I'm more than happy with that.


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