sheena blackhall

(18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

The Holocaust


Herded into the transports
Beaten and struck. Defiled
Stripped of hope and possessions
Man and woman and child

Lied to, betrayed, tormented
Starved in the bitter cold
Cattle-trucked off to horror
The weak, the young, the old

Where were the men of conscience?
Where was the will to save?
Where were Pity and Reason?
At the wrong side of the grave.

Harvesting hair and fillings
Harvesting bones and rings
Apocalyptic gleaners
Where death's cruel sickle swings

Dachau, Stutthof, Treblinka
Ravensbrueck, Buchenwald
Mauthausen-Gusen Plaszow
Blood-hungry, wired and walled

Auschwitz, Majdanek, Chelmno
Belzec and Bergen-Belsen
Flossenbuerg and Natzweiler
Neuengamme and Gross Rosen

How many potential leaders,
Einsteins, Chagalls and Heines
Mendelssohns, Kafkas, Mahlers
Were killed in those killing times?

The tree of pogrom and ghetto
It grew a bitter fruit
And the air and the dust you walk on's
Where the past lies underfoot

Europe today as always
Is a fertile, ancient place
But for the ghost-filled cities
Of one persecuted race

Submitted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Written some years after visiting Auschwitz, and discovering my ancestral maternal DNA is the same as 5% of Europe's population...Ashkenazi Jew

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