Tag Archives: Slaughterhouse 5

Schlachthof Fünf — A Place of Carnage in Anybody’s Language

(photo: from Wikipedia)

(photo: from Wikipedia)

I seriously wonder if my grandfather
bombed Kurt Vonnegut in Dresden
as he sat hunkered in his eponymous
slaughterhouse numbered no.5
a prisoner of war and still not yet a writer
it’s at best an academic question, I grant you
because although my father’s father flew
as a bomb aimer with the RAF Pathfinders
his job on the eve of Valentine’s Day 1945
was to lay down flares over key targets
so as to guide those who followed to the
precise points they were to offload their
incendiary payloads onto a civilian population
thus the firestorm was orchestrated and
25,000 killed, too many bodies to bury
and a hell on Earth achieved of which I never
— unlike in Vonnegut’s celebrated novel —
heard my grandfather once tell.

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Thanks are due to Dina, a fellow blogger here at WordPress, who has been helping me track the themes of flight and Kurt Vonnegut’s writing in some of my more recent poems. Her excellent writing and blog can be found here. Enjoy!

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