Sport 22: Autumn 1999
Adolf Hitler's father was a bastard
but it's not that simple.
In fact young Hitler had a moustache
a real RAF job with waxed points
like von Hindenburg
(not the airship, the general).
He twiddled with them at night
in bed, frustrated.
He twiddled with them in the trenches
as the shells flew overhead.
I've got to have a Putsch, he thought.
And so he did. But it let him down.
The transmission was duff
and he ended up in the can
twiddling his moustache.
He wrote Mein Kampf there
and looked into the mirror often.
It was the moustache, he decided,
and the self-indulgent twiddling.
Germany needs young men of resolution.
So off came his points and the wax.
Gradually the razor moved inward
Hitler checked at each stroke.
It was a revelation with one inch to go.
There was the next chapter;
ein Land, ein Volk, ein Führer.
Why should I,
I ask you, sitting here
years later listening to Couperin,
care enough about you to write your name?
I think of my mentor, Paul Hoffmann,
80 years old and an Austrian like you
walking barefoot through the snow in Vienna
and then, years of exile later, to Deutschland
to teach lyric poetry. So a romantic
like you but much braver.
I could only talk to the local Gauleiter
when I was younger,
the pig farmer Rautenkranz.
He still wanted
Lebensraum for his pigs, hated Slavs
despite his Drang nach Osten.
I'm afraid of crowds,
of mass action,
I suspect enthusiasm.
Everywhere I go
I take you with me,