Belfast, 1942Posted: November 11, 2011 Filed under: Alexander Best, English | Tags: Remembrance Day poems, War poems Comments Off on Belfast, 1942
“Mrs. Thompson, I’ll take your Aileen to The Camp,
and she’ll play for the P.O.W.s.
Are you agreeable to it?”
“Aye, Mr. Nutt – she can play, so take her.”
And the Rev. James Nutt took 11-year-old Aileen
to The Camp – in his little Austin car.
At the barb-wire gate British soldiers let the minister pass
– and the child.
Inside the Nissen hut was a large platform and
an upright piano upon it.
Those foreign fellows had bombed
– blitzed – Belfast
they were now the luckiest of boys
– would have God’s grace in this far-off place.
And the child knew every chord progression for Luther’s hymn:
A Mighty Fortress is Our God.
And the young German prisoners sang strong in their
own tongue: Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott.
After she’d played the hymns Aileen was
borne aloft the shoulders of a Tommy and
off they were to the NAAFI canteen where she got a
Rock Bun and a beaker of cocoa – her first time of
And, tasting that flavour, she thought to herself:
Those wee Germans know all our same hymns !