The Lucky Ones

by Art Campbell

(This poem inspired by a story told to me by, Mr. Paul Peter)

Paul Peter in Revelation
and friend! Paul’s sermon … swayed!

“You do not take
what does not belong to you,
from a land you know not of,
like Stalin and Adolph.'”

If wisdom were gray hairs
Paul would be the wisest.
Old world wine and charm
swirling tongue and tale

“Proudly they marched through my village
rows and rows, side by side,
arm out, hand held high,
trucks and tanks of German pride.
Storming across the land of Hungary
rushing Russia for the taking,
meeting no resistance,
What was with Stalin?
I do not know,
but his name seem to fit,”
chuckled, the elderly who sit.

Just a boy, not quite a teen
Paul reveled in this scene,
an army upon army of never before seen.
coming to claim … everything.

‘Stalin’s troops opened wide
inviting the Germans deep inside
then closed around them like a big bear hug,
supply line severed …
the Germans perished
in frozen tundra,
One by one, two by two
maybe even a small banded group
they walked with limps from frozen toe drags
hobbling back to Germany, in rags.
Starving, frozen, wounded or carried
arms and hands down by road side buried,
wild eye’d looks from fear in men,
who have seen deaths gripping hand.

“Hitler’s invasion failed …
put a hot cup of coffee in the freezer,
see what happens…
a snow ball’s chance in hell?
Well, ’tis more like a fire ball …
shot into Siberia’s frozen wasteland,
only a few sparks of life made it.
They were like the dog, you know … they have tail between legs …
going home.”

“I’ve seen man … at his lowest low!”
Paul savored a mental moment
then nursed a sip of wine.
“And they were … the lucky ones!”


Paul Peter, a good friend of mine, told me this amazing story. I had to write about it, but I knew there was no way I could inject the full impact of the character himself. Sitting around a job site after work, drinking beer, ole’ Paul’s tongue would loosen up. He told this story with so much emotion that I remember it to this day. He also told how he was put in a concentration camp in Hungary at the age of ten years old. His family slipped him through the fence and told him to run and never look back. He came to America, changed his name because every time he told some one his name, they would ask “What?” and “how do you spell it?” So, he registered as Paul Peter with immigration when he became a citizen so it would make him fit in better. He got the names from the bible. He told about ‘the lucky ones’ back when he was a boy and saw this parade of German tanks and trucks roll through his town toward Russia and months later, one may be two ragged looking bandaged German soldiers would walk through the town, going back to Germany, half dead, and these were the lucky ones.


(click on picture to enlarge)


have a lucky day