Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Joan E. Bauer: After the Battle of Caporetto, 1917

I have come to rescue you

                                                -Benito Mussolini


Mules on the road, troops mud-slogged,

wet in their capes. Heavy guns drawn by tractors.


Where the Isonzo River flows from the Julian Alps

into the Adriatic—now Slovenia—

40,000 Italians dead or wounded.

280,000 POWS, 350,000 deserters or stragglers.


There were defeats before (and after)

but for the Italians, nothing like Caporetto.


A nation looked to a new Italy—

Who dared oppose the jutting jaw,

the black-shirt swagger?




Tua promesa. Your brightness—your splendor.


(In some corners of Italy,

your portrait remains—)


‘Indulgent’ toward professors, you read Socrates

and Plato.


But your feet proved wingless in the free fall.

Knave or fool?

A noose of regrets.

Sumptuous tears.        The rusty knife,

moldy prayer book, no use.


No apologia, only the claim:


I am crucified by my destiny.


 Copyright 2016 Joan E. Bauer.  First published in Rune and republished in Vox Populi by permission of the author.



Benito Mussolini  (1883 – 1945)

2 comments on “Joan E. Bauer: After the Battle of Caporetto, 1917

  1. John Lawson
    October 6, 2016

    Very timely, Joan–and thanks for the credit to Rune!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sylecri
    October 4, 2016


    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on October 4, 2016 by in Social Justice, War and Peace and tagged , , .
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