Archive for Edward Joseph Nilges

May Day 2012: Sellinger’s Round

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 2, 2012 by spinoza1111

Listen!

The Captain of the Month of May: A Round for May Day

In memoriam, again, of Edward Joseph Nilges, o anime cortese Mantoana. 1915-1945. Captain, United States Army, 442nd Regimental Combat Team (“Nisei”, “Go For Broke”). KIA 6 April 1945, Mount Folgorito, Tuscany, in a key Allied offensive that broke the Gothic Line and caused the fall of Mussolini’s northern and final republic. Silver Star: Purple Heart.

The Captain of the Month of May
Was light of heart and this he did say:
‘I shall die in April that you shall live in May!’

O Captain o my Captain, of the Month of May
Why have you returned to us to tarry and to stay
Are You not attached to Company A?

But the Captain of the Month of May
Held a secret sorrow within his heart
And he knew the soldier’s art.

The letter that doth say Dear John
Was a weight his heart upon
There’s nothing constructive about desertion
Of this we can be certain
But unlike some guy on civilian street
He had a higher duty that tasted sweet

He knew that upon the men he’d trained
Would Krupp steel and flame be rained
So he broke the last connection
With the city of Destruction,
And so heigh ho he set his foot upon
The hard high road that leads to Zion.

So the Captain of the Month of May
Did with the Nisei men tarry and stay
And in April he with them was slain
A Walther leaves little of the human stain.

He forgave the officer who slew him
He forgave the woman
He said to her Behold your son
He said to him now clean your gun.

This is why we dance a solemn Round
In sure and certain hope to heal our Wound
And in hope of some sort of salvation
For us, our communities, and our American nation.

Edward G. Nilges 1 May 2012. Moral rights asserted

Edward G. Nilges, “Study for a Portrait of Edward Joseph Nilges”, Oct 2010, pencil, pen,and Gimp, A4 size. Moral rights asserted.

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“The Captain of the Month of May”: A Kiplingesque

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 22, 2011 by spinoza1111

Edward Joseph Nilges 1915-1945. KIA April 6 1945. Captain, United States Army, 442nd Regimental Combat Team (“Go For Broke”, “Nisei”). Silver Star, Purple Heart.

Li quens Rollant se jut desuz un pin (The Count Roland lies beneath a Pine) – Chanson de Roland

In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid… – Gilbert Chesterton, Lepanto

The captain of the month of May
Was light of heart and this he did say:
I shall die in April that you shall live in May.

The waters were bitter the waters were cold
The Germans entrenched in the hills,
But their Captain was busy and their Captain was bold
He made great their souls and made firm their wills.

A straight up the mountain assault,
The hardest trick in the book
Under German fire through the tangled wire
The blood flowed down to the brook.

He was the tallest man in the unit by far
A tall German-American
The men were Nisei, born in America
Their Moms and their Dads in the can.

Hyphenated and mistrusted were they not men
Wanting to prove they were loyal
So they answered the call at the time, when
They were called to the trial.

It was a sideshow in terms of the war
Vienna had fallen to the Russians so grim:
Back home it was all a bit of a bore
But that meant nothing to them.

The Captain of the Month of May
Was seen with a letter, what did it say?
It said Dear John, that’s all I know
But he smiled at him, and said, hi Joe.

He trained them hard and he trained them well
By the book like a German:
He said, “we’re going in to hell”
“Keep it wired together, you men.”

“There’s something called the angle of fire
And it means your life
Know where it is in the sickening gyre
If you want to go home to your kids and your wife.”

They took the mountain Folgorito
And Lombardy was free:
The living saw the river, the living saw the Po
Flowing free down to the sunlit sea.

And in May the Russians took the Tiergarten,
The Russians took the zoo,
And free men all were heartened
When Hitler his brains out, blew.

And in Lombardy, Mussolini
Knew the jig was up
And was hanged with La Petacci
On death they both did sup.

But he was Don Juan of Austria,
He was the County de Roland,
He was a son of America
And for freedom, he did stand.

But we teach no more Lepanto
Nor the Chanson of Roland
But guys still to Hell must go
And there they must make a stand.

For the right or for the wrong
To the widow it makes no difference
She weeps so sore in the night that’s long
And is pensioned on your sufferance.

Nothing’s changed except the poet’s song
In rhyme and metre that’s old hat
Because when your life is hard and long
You must keep time and that…is that

Some mens’ lives are shortened
By the Maxim and the gun
Others are unduly lengthened
In the setting of the sun.

But those who die young do not hate us
And they have no envy, no, not any
They know that sorrow is a magic bus
The pain is fixed as an Epiphany.

Instead they haunt us at the rising sun
Or when the sun goes down:
They are smiling and forever young
In blue, or grey, or olive, or in brown.

The captain of the month of May
Was light of heart and this he did say:
I shall die in April that you shall live in May!

Edward G. Nilges 22 Dec 2011.

The Last Words of Dutch Spinoza

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 12, 2011 by spinoza1111

Prop. XVIII. No one can hate God. – Spinoza

This, is a supremely important illusion.
This, these clouds, these towers, these trees, heavy with the fruit
Of things you’ve done well or ill, while the day holds its breath,
Blue with sundown, ’tis time to kneel.

Pray to that of which you are a fragment
This is the last Judgement.

And a lightness then you feel,
The laughter of your children,
That crazy girl,
And the sunlight on the palms on Middlefield Road.



Edward G. Nilges, “State of a Portrait of Edward Joseph Nilges, Captain, 442nd Regimental Combat Team (Nisei), United States Army, b. 1915, KIA 6 April 1945, Mt. Folgorito, Italy, Purple Heart, Silver Star”, grisaille, acrylic on canvas, 19 Oct 2010

EJN Remembrance #14: Finale

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 25, 2010 by spinoza1111

Edward G. Nilges, “Portrait of Edward Joseph Nilges, 1915-1945”, acrylic on canvas, oval, 20 * 60 cm, Sep 2010

Edward Joseph Nilges, son of William and Josephine née Hochwalt. B. 1914, Cleveland OH. Schools: Cathedral Latin School and John Carroll University (BA).

United States Army, 1940-1945. Second and First Lieutenant, Captain.

442nd Regimental Combat Team: “Nisei”, “Go for Broke”. In action Vosges Mtns., France, and Po Valley, Italy.

KIA 6 April, 1945 in a key engagement against German troops at Mt. Folgorito.

Silver Star, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion,
et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem.
Exaudi orationem meam;
ad te omnis caro veniet.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.


O anima cortese mantoana, O courteous Mantuan spirit,
di cui la fama ancor nel mondo dura, whose fame continues in the world
e durerà quanto ‘l mondo lontana, and shall continue while the world endures,

l’amico mio, e non de la ventura, my friend, who is no friend of Fortune,
ne la diserta piaggia è impedito is so hindered on his way upon the desert slope
sì nel cammin, che vòlt’ è per paura; that, in his terror, he has turned back,

e temo che non sia già sì smarrito, and, from what I hear of him in Heaven,
ch’io mi sia tardi al soccorso levata, I fear he has gone so far astray
per quel ch’i’ ho di lui nel cielo udito. that I arose too late to help him.

Or movi, e con la tua parola ornata Set out, and with your polished words
e con ciò c’ha mestieri al suo campare, and whatever else is needed for his safety,
l’aiuta sì ch’i’ ne sia consolata. go to his aid, that I may be consoled.

I’ son Beatrice che ti faccio andare; I who bid you go am Beatrice.
vegno del loco ove tornar disio; I come from where I most desire to return.
amor mi mosse, che mi fa parlare. The love that moved me makes me speak.

Dante Aligheri, La Divina Commedia: l’Inferno, canto II
Princeton Dante Project

EJN Remembrance #13: o dolce lume a cui fidanza i’ entro

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 21, 2010 by spinoza1111


Edward G. Nilges, “State of a Portrait of Edward Joseph Nilges as of 21 Sep 2010”, acrylic on oval canvas, 20 * 60 cm

Edward G. Nilges, “Detail of State of a Portrait of Edward Joseph Nilges as of 21 Sep 2010”, acrylic on oval canvas, 20 * 60 cm

Edward G. Nilges, “Computer-modified detail of State of a Portrait of Edward Joseph Nilges as of 21 Sep 2010”, acrylic on oval canvas, 20 * 60 cm

Edward G. Nilges, “Monochrome detail of State of a Portrait of Edward Joseph Nilges as of 21 Sep 2010”, acrylic on oval canvas, 20 * 60 cm

“O dolce lume a cui fidanza i’ entro
per lo novo cammin, tu ne conduci,”
dicea, “come condur si vuol quinc’ entro.

Tu scaldi il mondo, tu sovr’ esso luci;
s’altra ragione in contrario non ponta,
esser dien sempre li tuoi raggi duci.”

‘O sweet light, in whose help I trust
as I set out upon this unknown road,’ he said,
‘give us whatever guidance here is needed.

‘You shed your light upon the world and warm it.
Unless we find good reason to do other,
your rays must always be our guide.’

Dante, Purgatorio XIII, from The Princeton Dante Project

I have started adding the colour.

Psychoanalysis: considered futile and otiose. But when I listen to the pieties of a Tony Blair, I reflect that I got more done in my “psychoanalysis” (Rogerian analysis in the 1960s and 1970s) than Blair got in church.

The denial of the Shadow and, above all, the greasy way in which journalists talk about “faith” using a word uglified by the fact that their surface respect conceals contempt.

Psychiatry’s superego considered as part of the fundamental furniture of your head makes it possible to do things “out of the blue”:

I never done good things
I never done bad things
I never did anything out of the blue

David Bowie

A universal command to be egoistic and to adopt (cf Zizek) advertising as a phony superego creates addiction, because doing something in self-interest isn’t usually spontaneous.

The only really honest image above may be the monochrome.

The OD shirt must be unfinished, but beneath it the transition from earth to blue seems to work. The lettering of “O anima cortese Mantoana” needs work.


Edward G. Nilges 19 September 2010

In Memory of a Plain Dealer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 6, 2010 by spinoza1111

In Memory of a Plain Dealer

for Edward Joseph Nilges, Captain, United States Army, 442 Regimental Combat Team, b 1915 d 1945 in action in northern Italy:

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion,
et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem.
Exaudi orationem meam;
ad te omnis caro veniet.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

He didn’t seem to care that he was unknown
In the Plain Dealer his courage was shown:
In words without embellishment
It was said he died for his country without sentiment.

I like to think he made a point of smiling
Gently telling the brave Japanese men
Time to go to weal or woe,
Or to your Asian palace of jade and silence:
Those Germans aren’t going away
Not dug in like that, oh no, not today.

I like to think he read the field manual
Out of curiosity and boredom,
And underlined the part where it said,
If it said, if it read
A United States Officer under a certain rank
Shall think of his men before himself.
Generals and Colonels may think of masses of asses
Pushed by Waves on a board in a bunker,
But a Captain shall Captain (oh my Captain) his men’s souls,
And find peace leaving Paris
Headed back to his home in Hell
Where the Goths they hold the line
In weather unusually fine.

And so smiling, perhaps, he folded his life up like the flag
That is handed to the widow at the time of ash
By wounded men who wounded were sent
To condignly dignify sentiment,
And put questions, like his body, to rest.

Oh the flag, oh yes, the flag
He folded his life’s flag carefully
So close to the Arno did his blood flow,
Arno’s flood he knew from reading Dante in Catholic school.

Carefully, but for him, there was no widow
Just a woman wondering why
She could not cry,
Listening to his favorite Beethoven symphony on NBC after the rain.

Edward G. Nilges amdg 6 March 2010