Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wyeth's war sonnets illustrated:~~~ 2. "Huppy"

An aerial view of Huppy with the church clearly visible
in the center of the village, and one end of the chateau
emerging from trees to the right.

 33rd Division Headquarters are established in the chateau in Huppy on the afternoon of 31 May, 1918, described by a field clerk with HQ as “a chateau, pleasantly situated amid trees, shrubbery and flowers.”

The speaker in Wyeth’s sonnet is evidently positioned somewhere just outside the park-like environs of this chateau, within sight of the “slim white belfry” of the village church, located close to the chateau entrance.

"... the slim white belfry by the park."


So many shadows that the air is green . . .
Light catches in the upper leaves and dies
along the slim white belfry by the park.
Ducks waddle home, self-conscious on the ground.
Some trim young Red Tabs in a limousine
scatter a drifting dust cloud in our eyes.
A soldier blithely whistles Joan of Arc.
Gates shut and jangle . . . Bugles thinly sound . . .
Twilight, and after mess a round of ‘fine.’

They’re bombing Abbeville!  Lights crack, searchlights rise---
A woman runs and screams “Jules--- Jean--- ou etes-vous?
They fill the road . . . one hails me in the dark,
her five grandchildren pressing close around---
“Qu’allons-nous faire?--- Nous avons peur chez nous!”.

 The two postcards below show the chateau where Headquarters 33rd Division was established during its stay in Eu.

The postcard below provides a view of the road leading northward out of Huppy towards Abbeville, which was bombed by German Gothas every evening. As recorded in The History of the 33rdDivision,
“At this time the town of Abbeville was so severely bombed almost every night by enemy aeroplanes that slow evacuation was begun. The German preparation for their anticipated drive to the sea via Amiens and Abbeville was apparently well underway.”

The road leading north out of Huppy to Abbeville.

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