Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An Offering

Today is Tuesday, 30 September 2008.

On 29-30 September, 1941, elements of Einsatzgruppen C (“Special Duties Unit C”) of the Nazi S.S. shot some 34,000 Jews and dumped their bodies in the ravine, named Babi Yar, near the city of Kiev, in the Ukraine, USSR. Eventually, at least 75,000 other Jews would join those victims.

BABI YAR

I.

Here I,
“Exterminated”,
In this ravine of Babi Yar,
In the City of Kiev, then U.S.S.R,
And,
In every inch of earth upon which one might stand,
Beneath the common dirt
Beneath our common blanket earth
From which we all issue and to which we all return,
Sojourn 100,000 Jewish humans,
Our sisters and brothers,
Shot in the back of the head and herein dumped.

II.

The Reichsfuhrer SS has decreed:
“More efficient methods will soon be adopted.”

“Adopted”.

Like orphan children.

(Gas.)

III.

Scarce a mile from here,
Where I complete my journey beneath the earth,
I grew up, sowing and reaping my family’s grain.

Scarce a mile from here,
I met you,
And love in fell and married.

For better or for worse.

Inherited my father’s farm,
And we sowed and reaped,
And were fruitful.

IV.

Thee, our fruit, me.

Murdered by Nazis to whom:
All Jews were vermin.

And, like all lice and rats,
Should be,
And,
Were duly,
With all smug smiling consideration,

Exterminated.

V.

Like rats and lice.

VI.

(Imagine:
You are standing, stripped naked, before a ditch …
You are standing, stripped naked, before a ravine …
You are standing, stripped naked, before your dinner table,
Watching,
As your daughter,
Vermin stripped naked,
Receives in the back of the head a bullet.)

[And I welcome then the bullet in the back of my head.]

(My daughter was …
What then we called,
Of feeble-mind,
She loved cats and dogs and snow.)


VII.

Sisters and brothers of Babi Yar:
In the name of all that is decent and human and humane:
I shall never grant the Nazis victory:
I shall never judge even a Nazi as vermin,
Nor exterminate them.

VIII.

Join, comrades:
I shall refuse to be a Nazi,
Even toward Nazis.

Accept:
I offer my human monument to you,
And almost victory.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have a nice day!

11:54 AM  
Anonymous appreciative reader said...

Your poem is moving, brave, sad, yet inspirational. I will take that spirit with me as I face my day, and try never to forget to treat my fellow humans with decency and compassion.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous devoted reader said...

And a most beautiful and heartrending offering it is. Thank you.

Almost victory.

2:27 PM  

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