Textbooks tell of times,
Tales told in the twilight
Of tragedy sublime.

Dictators, awful men of trauma,
Their tribes of terror tell us
To be taught by trailing drama.
To put it in perspective,
This setting, cold, that we inherit,
We teach lessons not so festive
Borne of guns and bombs and merit.

Terrifying times, tangled and divisive,
Show us even evil men
Teach us to be tenacious and decisive.

The story starts in destitution
As these stories often do,
Proletariat in revolution
Circa nineteen forty-two.
Hostilities already trampling in strife,
The war machine was raging,
Trading steel and tracts for lives.

A trek traversed by Germans tells,
Of taking Stalin’s towns,
Of taking Russian women and of setting off the knells.

To think that they had tanks enough,
Was a tempting thought to think was true,
The Teutonic troops were taut and tough
Touting tales of victory over gentile and Jew.
Betrayal, timed so delicate.
Treaty drafts of treachery,
To trick the other of their fate.

The Germans who met the soviets,
With scorched earth in their wake,
Were fools to think that it was over yet.

Stalingrad then started,
The tale of history most bloody,
Total war triumphant, treat the gentry as a target,
Starving, terrified, and dying,
The Russians thought that they would perish.
Many did, true terror crying,
They took those things that they did cherish.

That was the total story,
Terrified and petrified,
A months-long tale of mutilation; tyrants red and gory.

Still, the tables turned from tumultuous events.
Rations, stock, munitions:
Those things are needed in the trench.
The Germans tendered nothing
To feed the troops in time.
Retreat! Retreat!
Attrition they could not defeat, could not hold the line.

Counter then with bayonets,
TNT and mines,
The soviets trumped Hitler’s Eastern best.

Think it through. The lights in Stalingrad snuffed out,
Topped one million, yet no defeat,
Capitulation is truly not what total war’s about.
Retribution, terrible, those Russians did release.
Took the towns that they had lost,
Though slaughtered by the thousands,
They struck terror in those who opposed their cause.

Two more steps, then two more steps,
Taking back the tattered ground,
Of lamentation and regret.

To Berlin the trumpets took themselves with Soviets in tow,
They took terrifying satisfaction in
Their opportunity to tell tales of a killing blow.
Tearing down the city
That thatched the state of total fascist tenets,
Distribute not a thought of pity,
Threaten kin, turn thyself into a menace.

The turf of Germans torn apart,
Trap the termites stuck inside,
Torture them to taste your bitter tarts.

There, a red flag atop the capitol,
The fighting terminated,
The terrible times ended in vitriol.
So then take within this story,
A lesson tried and true.
Despite apparent loss untenable,
Trying just may take you through.

It must be said, though it trifles with the lesson,
That the soviets were then betrayed,
But that story addresses a very different question.

Despite what troubles follow you,
What tough defeats trail or tether close,
There are no limits to what the tough can do.
Tenacity and fortitude,
Trying, trying yet again.
Had the Soviets accepted loss,
They would have never took Berlin.

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