Monte Cassino



Monte Cassino

on the 70th anniversary of the battle

Thursday at dawn’s light

We caught sight…

Of the Polish flag – red, white

Seven decades behind us

The past recedes each day with the speed of the sun

What will the old future say

When the last eye-witness to the eye witness dies?


For here the Polish soldier performed Holy Mass

With the solemnity of the danceless black dawn

With suffering matching of each year to a day

Over crimsonest of hills and bluest of skies

For here at Monte Cassino they fought and died

Englishmen, Pole, American, and Free French, tired  –

–  Men under Benedictine walls, savage souls, wide  –

–  Is their berth to the other shore – may they sail well

This land to far off Poland belongs – acquired

And staked out with each cross and grave – or where each fell


Tell me General Anders –

–  Why is your name not a household word in the West?

Are the contributions of –

–  Some more uncomfortable than those of the others?

For in the bombed out end – tell me who really cares?

Are not the dead by their glory at peace and blessed

Is not the act of lion-like bravery truth’s love?


Here at your feet rest the sons of Polish mothers

When on the eighteenth of May the guns finally ceased

It is the German defeat the victors witnessed

And it is on a Polish flag their eyes laid feast

The wind blew it tight reflecting the sun on white

And mirroring the survivor’s bandages dressed

Blood and purity, with honor gave to the light

I invoke the Red Poppies


Let each one blossom in the fullness of time’s path

The petals fall where they may

And this interruption also be remembered

An alabaster eternity of red seas

Within the rapture of the Virgin Mother’s wrath

Under a sky filled with charcoal of the war’s gray

For truth is inconvenient, and often tempered.


Wounds are never healed

Only sealed…

And in time’s fullness – revealed.

1 Comment
  1. Eileen Browne says

    Thank you for this memorial, and shedding light on the underestimated role of Polish soldiers during WWII
    You never disappoint, Konrad!

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