Ralph Hamilton in P-51 Mustang, 'Debra Dell', Duxford, England, 1944
(Image by shawn hamilton) Permission Details DMCA
Background: This was written by Maj. Ralph E. Hamilton, during WW2, after his P-51 Mustang was shot down by German antiaircraft fire near Crailsheim, and he ended up in a German prison camp. In a margin note he says of the poem: "I wrote this under a dim night light, on toilet paper in the camp at Moosburg (Stalag 7A). The bedbugs had chewed my wrists, neck, and ankles to a painful mass of itching misery and forced me from my bunk."
A Kriegie's Prayer
Oh, God, I ask of you in humble prayer,
As I lie in torment far from home,
Keep safe my loving family over there;
Make lighter theirs--this burden
Which they bear.
I ask not why this plan for war was lain,
Nor question your divine authority,
But couldn't you have had the flak refrain
That last time I went down to
Strafe a train?
Oh, God, just slightly overflow thy cup,
And speed me from this vermin-prison's bed.
Please, God, release me from
This land of Krupp
Before these God-damned bedbugs eat me up!