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The Ogruf and the Angstloch

Château de Pierrefonds, Oise, Picardie, France. Donjon drain-pipe.

SS Obergruppenführer Joachim

Ribbentrop, Hitler’s diplomatic shill

was hanged at Nuremberg in

1946 for crimes against humanity.

He’d cheered on the Shoah

and shaken hands with Stalin,

setting the stage for World War II.

Joachim is a Hebrew name

and means “raised by God.”

Born in the spring of 1893,

he was a gambler, took a flutter on Hitler’s

spree; the stars perhaps decreed

his last words standing on the gallows door: “Ich werde dich wiedersehen”

(“I’ll see you again”).

In 1950, one Sergey Viktorovich

Lavrov showed up in Moscow, a baby

Kalantaryan, meaning “Big Shot.”

Raised with that surname,

half-Armenian, he ought not be

playing the beard for shame,

as to what he knows full well,

born a long, sad, sordid century ago.

Metempsychosis doesn’t quit,

Hindus believe: hungry ghosts

swarm up avidly from hell.

And who’s to say, if so, that

Joachim did not in 1946 foretell

his resurrection in his final knell?

Par for the course, that bet,

if made, has still not paid off yet.

But Clio loves to rhyme

her rulings Rhadamanthine.

Note: Angstloch = German, “fear hole”; the trapdoor opening into a “bottle dungeon” (or oubliette) in a medieval castle. See, e.g.,

Ogruf was the familiar abbreviation for Obergruppenführer, an SS rank very roughly equivalent to general.


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