3 OCTOBER 1958, Page 27

Claus von Stauffenberg, 1944

(of the bomb plot on Hitler)

It is not merely the approach of snow, Haunting the stiffened earth, but total fear Which stuns a.history underfoot, and so Cracks values in a landscape of despair.

They chose the unknown, and the bounded terror, As a corrective, who corrected live Surveying without choice the bounding error : An unsanctioned present must be primitive.

A few still have the vigor to deny Fear is a natural state; their motives neither Of doctrinaire, of turncoat, nor of spy. Lucidity of thought draws them together.

The maimed young Colonel who can calculate On two remaining fingersand a will, Takes lessons from the past, to detonate A bomb that Brutus rendered possible.

Over the maps a moment, face to face : Across from Hitler, whose grey eyes have tilled A nation with the illogic of their gaze,. The rational man is poised. Destroy to build.

And though he fails, honor personified in a cold time where honor cannot grow, He stiffens, like a statue, in mid-stride —Falling toward history, and under snow.