“Auschwitz”

Author Seymour Joseph writes: I pass this on, and for those of you who haven’t seen my poetry collection I include a poem I wrote in 1955, after my visit to Auschwitz.

This ground has kept its secret.

As a sheet covers a corpse so time and grass

have conspired to mask the crimes committed here.

The earthen mouth that devoured the dead

is now green-blanketed with daisy patches.

Yet we know. We know from the rusting

barbed wire fences, the squalid barracks,

the brick wall chipped with bulletholes,

the showers, the ovens, a mountain of shoes:

   men’s shoes, women’s shoes, children’s shoes,

   work shoes, dress shoes, black, brown, white,

   worn and new.

 

Outside the flowers and sweetened breeze

   belie what went before.

 

Our guide, older than his years, when bidding us goodbye

   his eyes welled up with tears

and through his quivering lips he said,

   “No more of this, no more.”

 

Photo: Hungarian Jews not selected as laborers were murdered in the gas chambers almost immediately after arrival. Photo from the Auschwitz Album (May 1944). CC BY-SA 3.0 de. Wikimedia Commons.


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