Summer 2008

Table of Contents - Vol. IV, No. 2


Poetry    Translations    Non-Fiction    Fiction    Essays   

Christopher Hanson


Chamberlain's Paper

I like to think,
as I look at his hawkish face,
that the paper was real;
that he really held aloft at the airport
a half-crumpled, doomed agreement
like a winning lottery ticket,
as microphones stood on parade.
More likely it was a memo, or
perhaps a sonnet, in praise
of German magnanimity,
begun on the plane and to be finished
at gentlemanly leisure over tea,
while the real agreement smouldered
in a staffer’s briefcase.

Judging would be easy.
The flimsy optimism of those years
was worth the paper, worth shaking
the devil’s hand in Munich.
He never suspected
that those audacious men
were drawing vast,
efficient plans, consigning
peace to another time,
with bold annexes
that only mocked his umbrella.

Soon, another microphone carried
his leaden tone once more
to a resigned, weary world.
He read from a different sheet,
with a stilted voice; eyes
scanning his staffers’ faces
for any sign of belief;
with Churchill’s jowly condemnations
resonating, with posterity
about to relegate him to the role
of gullible dupe, whose peace
could not come soon enough.


© Christopher Hanson



Poetry    Translations    Non-Fiction    Fiction    Essays   

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