In Memory of Albrecht Haushofer, author of the Moabit Sonnets, killed 23 April 1945



I’ve never had to stand up to some fascist

bully, or to camp out in a square

protesting against the blood-soaked dictator

who runs my country. No cocksure imperialist


controls my state; no simplistically earnest

missionary insists I learn a prayer

to another god than mine; no doctrinaire

ideologue has me on his blacklist.


I’ve never waited in a cold, damp cell

for the dawn when faceless men will drag me out

to the noose, or the firing squad. No brutal lout


has tortured me for days until I tell

the lies he wants to hear. I merely scout


the freedom of my chosen prison: doubt.


These days, who’s at the country’s helm? The bland

leading the bland . . .  Dull politicians whose

bedtime reading is opinion polls,

so spin-controlled and focus-grouped they blend


into a compound breed. Their foes, the closed

minds of ISIS; the bureaucratic fools

who’ve messed up Europe; Putin. Each day’s news

threatening their imagined Disneyland.


But then, I’ve never tried to argue for

my own invented world, or made a stout

defence of my beliefs, or sought the clout


to shape my people’s destiny. Unsure

of all such certainties, I merely scout


the prison of my chosen freedom – doubt.




First published Acumen 84, Jan 2016