August Stramm: Battlefield/Attack/War Grave

The literature of World War One has often focused on the verse of a small number of British poets whether it, be the sentimental idealism of Rupert Brooke or the war-weary disillusionment of Siegfried Sassoon but others adopted a different approach to its grim realities.

August Stramm, born in the town of Cathedrals in 1874 was an Army Reservist and Civil Servant who had been a playwright and an early exponent of German Expressionism, or the deliberate distorting of reality for emotional effect and the evocation of feeling through the use of sound and image.

Called up for service in World War One, Stramm was awarded the Iron Cross (Second Class) as a Company Commander in France before being transferred to the Eastern Front where he was shot through the head and killed in close-quarter fighting with the Russians near the town of Horodec on 1 September 1915, aged 41.

Battlefield

Yielding clod lulls iron off to sleep
bloods clot the patches where they oozed
rusts crumble
fleshes slime
sucking lusts around decay.
Murder on murder blinks
in childish eyes.

Attack

Scarves
Wave
Flutter
Chatter
Winds clatter.
Your laughter blows
Grasp hold
Scuffle force
Kiss
Surrounded
Sink down
Nothingness

War Grave

Staffs flehen cross arms
Writing zagt pale unknown
Flowers impudent
Dust shyly.
Flare
Water
Glast
Forgotten.

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