Saturday, August 11, 2007

At Home With Hitler

The Fuehrer never likes to make a fuss.
This gracious house of his might well be
a businessman’s retreat—he’s one of us.

Although in every tasteful room we see
Europe’s finest artworks on display,
perhaps the rarest gems are those that he

himself created in his former days,
maybe better days, he sometimes feels,
back when a true artist lived on praise.

But times change, change a great deal.
Now, here at Haus Wachenfeld,
the burdens of his office all too real,

he’ll gaze out at the Obersalsberg, held
by chapel shrines, ferns, the chain of lakes,
(truly a prospect without parallel)

and stare until his great heart aches
with the overwhelming beauty of the scene,
with knowing that man is what he undertakes.

Inside, the color scheme is green
throughout, the palest jade, cool repose;
in every room the paired canaries preen

for their dear Fuehrer in gilt cages, compose
a charming music to ease his burdened heart.
He gets one out, lets it kiss his nose.

He has a writing desk from Herr Mozart,
and people scouring Europe for the best
antiques; of course he’s always keen for art.

At last the Reichsfuehrer invites his guests
to sit, take some sustenance outdoors,
with the fresh mountain air to aid digestion.

A strict and dedicated herbivore,
the Fuehrer will permit himself no flesh,
but serves truite saumond a la Monsigneur,

along with a winsome Riesling to refresh
our happy palates, though he himself demurs.
Herr Kannenberg, the chef, provides a fresh-

picked garden salad and eine Spur
of soup for the Squire of Wachenfeld, who tends
to the garden himself, a true connoisseur.

The gardeners, he says, are Freunde, friends
he visits every morning without fail,
to sample something choice, to recommend

some new technique, or simply to regale
them with his jokes. They love, and they respect,
his mastery of every last detail.

Our hunger quenched, we must now inspect
the kennels and the Fuehrer’s famed Alsatians,
a place where love and science intersect.

Perfection truly crowns his dedication
to the breed; his careful hand produced a true
nobility, the very face of his proud nation.

He romps, tosses Hundekuchen chews;
this heartwarming, affectionate exchange
is irresistible, so blithe, so impromptu.

But it doesn’t do to spoil them. Off to the range,
where archers hone their skills for Children’s Day.
But a major comes, whispers. He is changed.

Sadly, the Fuehrer must take himself away.
When the fate of everything is in one's hands,
one has no private life. One has no say--

nation, party, volk--nothing but demands.
But affairs of state must take priority,
of course. Of course. We quite understand.

We leave the Fuehrer’s home reluctantly,
only grateful that we had a chance to see
how full of grace a country home can be.

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