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A Kriegie's Prayer--a poem for Armistice Day

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Ralph Hamilton in P-51 Mustang,
Ralph Hamilton in P-51 Mustang, 'Debra Dell', Duxford, England, 1944
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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."

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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!

 

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