Elena,a baby wrapped in her woollen clothes,
On the last train,Warsaw to Moscow,
[ change Niegoreloje.]
You passed through the Arctic Wastes of life.
Still as if travellng on a train
To an impossibly far destination.
As you left the German Army crashed into Poland
How does God select the damned?
Later,you had your own baby,here in England,
Not lost like all those others.
Your father died by his own hand,
The hand of history;
The fingers twitching,
Not sure where to point.
Then settling into frozen grief
A sculpture only your mother saw.
You saw too,Elena.
You always saw,though you can’t remember;
The long journey,your mother’s breast,
Your father’s silence.
Only the dead know that silence.
Only the dead weep
With the rocks and stones .
And the ice in each eye
Fell like snow down your cheeks
As you held your own infant.
Warsaw to Moscow,
Moscow to Jerusalem.
Looking for what they can never find:
The home they left behind
The presence of the dead
Lying in gaunt heaps
Your aunts, Elena.
You never knew them.
But there’s a hole in your mind
Through which the Polish wind blows for ever.
- Taken in haste, kept forever (bbc.co.uk)
- Monument to Polish Righteous Gentiles sited in former ghetto (jta.org)
- Poland = Too Many Emotions (chelsearwood.wordpress.com)
- Archive of Spielberg’s Schindler’s List consisting of 52,000 interviews about Holocaust transferred from U.S. to Poland (warhistoryonline.com)
- “Aftermath”: A movie inciting anti-Semetic backlash in Poland (shoshanascorner.wordpress.com)
- Jan Karski’s futile mission to stop the Holocaust (macleans.ca)