Landscape of Dead Metaphors

Destroyed Berlin, Germany, 1945.  (Credit: United States Air Force Historical Research Agency via Cees Steijger (1991), "A History of USAFE", Voyageur, ISBN: 1853100757)

Destroyed Berlin, Germany, 1945. (Credit: United States Air Force Historical Research Agency via Cees Steijger (1991), “A History of USAFE”, Voyageur, ISBN: 1853100757)

The Landscape of Dead Metaphors is a petrified geography where dreams of Empire come to rest in a soldier’s grave. Berlin 1945: living corpses gather in the streets to cheer Mother Courage, waving to the crowd from an automobile. She survived, but lost all her children in the business of the war.

A white horse leads the parade, carrying a mounted soldier’s armor encompassing a brittle skeleton. Although the night is dark—the war horse signals—the sun will rise and the day will come.

A bishop with staff and miter bows his head in customary adoration of old gods. The city is a wasteland of pale illusions that will not fade.

Here is the fall of Zion, lamented by Jeremiah. Here the young and the old walk the streets without purpose or star, and the prophet is slain in his cold monk’s cell. A giant owl is perched on the ruined temple’s tower, and ancient, venerable buildings have become the caves of dragons.

If there is hope, it will come from across the river. Pray for a loping savior, treading desert paths to bring us the ancient medicine of chaos, and the comic salve of laughter.

OG

German women doing their washing at a cold water hydrant in a Berlin street, a knocked out German scout car stands beside them; July 3, 1945. (Credit: No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit, Wilkes A (Sergeant))

German women doing their washing at a cold water hydrant in a Berlin street. A knocked out German scout car stands beside them; July 3, 1945. (Credit: No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit, Wilkes A (Sergeant))

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