Oh, God, I ask of you in humble prayer,
As I lie in torment far from home,
Keep safe my loving family over there;
Make lighter theirs—this burden
Which they bear.
I ask not why this plan for war was lain,
Nor question your divine authority,
But couldn’t you have had the flak refrain
That last time I went down to
Strafe a train?
Oh, God, just slightly overflow thy cup,
And speed me from this vermin-prison’s bed.
Please, God, release me from
This land of Krupp
Before these God-damned bedbugs eat me up!
Note: Ralph wrote this under a dim night light, on toilet paper in the German prison camp at Moosburg. He said the bedbugs had chewed his wrists, neck, and ankles to a “painful mass of itching misery” and forced him from his bunk.