Paul Hansford

Remnants: Auschwitz - Poem by Paul Hansford

Even from behind the glass,
you can smell the insecticide
that keeps the moths away.
A vast mound of matted sheep’s wool
you would say, except (they assure you)
it is original, all two tons of it,
the human hair that was left
unused at the end.
The rest went for socks
to keep workers’ feet warm.
All grey now, sixty years on, it has aged
as those that owned it never did.
They went naked to the shower room,
clutching the soap
they would never use,
and then to the ovens.
A lorry’s engine drowned the screams,
and the Governor’s wife tended her flowers,
making a garden “like paradise.”

This is at least the fourth major rewrite of this poem
- 'a poem is never finished, only abandoned.'

Comments about Remnants: Auschwitz by Paul Hansford

  • (4/14/2009 10:28:00 AM)

    A masterful poem on difficult subject. Fresh images, juxtaposition of opposites to make your point, subtle, not preachy. (Report) Reply

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  • Martin O'Neill (1/15/2009 6:37:00 AM)

    Whilst serving in Germany we spent a day at Belsen-Bergen. On the way there the bus was full of typical squaddie humour and banter, talk of football, pubs, girls etc. On the way back? Silent.52 grown men and boys on a bus for two hours. Silent.
    Just like the birds.
    (Report) Reply

  • Susan Jarvis (7/7/2008 11:22:00 AM)

    A vivid poem with so many stark images. 'They went naked into the shower room/ clutching the soap/ they would never use' says everything. The contrast with the Governor's wife's 'paradise' highlights this unforgivable horror. A heartfelt history lesson in one impacting poem. S (Report) Reply

  • (7/3/2008 12:14:00 AM)

    Horrible events that happened during the World War 11 always marked the terrifying remnants to those who still have the ability to recall... and tell it to the new generation! Sad but reality, a 10. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, July 3, 2008

Poem Edited: Wednesday, April 29, 2009

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