The wheels they drag and drag on,
What do they bring, and whose?
They bring along a wagon
Filled with throbbing shoes.
Did you ever see in fields of snow
Frozen Jews, in row upon row?
Breathless they lie, marbled and blue.
All the noises, all the sounds, asleep.
Under seven streams sleeps fear.
And the elephant, so deep in sleep,
That you can sneak up, cut off his ear.
Signs of paws — an animal has sown
Like blue roses in the white snow's gleam,
When the sun, new risen and unknown,
Like a baby, casts its piercing scream —
Caves, gape open,
Split open under my ax!
Before the bullet hits me —
I bring you gifts in sacks.
Only smoke, smoke, hovering smoke,
Dead children — puffs of living smoke.
They call: Mama, mama! from the smoke,
Gather me in from all the ends of time, from wood and stone,
Embrace me like letters of a burning prayerbook.
Gather me together — so I can be alone,
Alone with you, and you — in all my limbs.
Digging a pit as one must, as they say.
I seek in the earth a solace today.
A thrust and a cut — and a worm gives a start:
With patches on our bodies, striped and parching,
They chase us in the ghetto, streets are marching,
Our buildings say farewell eternally,
Stone faces walk with us at each decree.
Music of torments.
Who is the conductor?
For whom do they play a crescendo?
Later, will any hands applaud?