The Mechelen Incident

Tom Paulin

On the other hand
10/1/40 was a good day
at least by January standards
– a crisp cold clear day
When Majors Reinberger and Hoenmanns
allowed their Me109
a virtual fighter – no light transport plane
made of cloth and string
– allowed their sturdy all-weather plane
to get blown across the Rhine
and a chunk of Holland
by an eastnortheast wind
– not a wind a mere breeze
of 9 to I2 knots

before they crashlanded
near the main road
between Lindenheuvel and Maastricht
they tried and failed to set fire
to the courier pouches
with paper and damp sticks
behind some leafless bushes
– no soldier writing a report
will add an adjective that notices
the convenient bareness of those bushes
and no officer ever noted
that German High Command
had issued permanent orders
against sending secret papers by air
– an oversight that maybe rises
like a bituminous swelling egg
from out the deep pit of MI5
whose deputy director
Sir William Crocker
like his chum the Governor –
Montagu Norman – of the Bank of England
has a secret line to Ribbentrop
who coos to the Queen of England
down cunning corridors
– yes it’s that trope
corridors lined with smoky mirrors
no one will ever wipe