Thursday, January 10, 2008

Holocaust Memorial

This is a poem I recorded from one of the engraved stones at the Holocaust Memorial Park near where I work in Brooklyn. I've had two leisurely visits so far. I intend to read each stone again and again. The poem is about shoes.

The heels are tapping
Where to, where to, what in?
From the old Vilna streets
They ship us to Berlin
I need not ask whose
But my heart is rent
Oh tell me shoes the truth
Where were the feet sent?
The feet of these boots
With buttons like dew
The child of those slippers?
The woman of that shoe?
And children's shoes everywhere
Why don't I see a child?
Why are the bridal shoes there
Not worn by the bride?
Among the children's worn out boots
My mother's shoes so fair!
Sabbath was the only day
She donned this footwear

- written by Abraham Sutzkever in the Vilna ghetto, upon seeing a trainload of shoes once the property of murdered Jews. The shoes were being sent to needy Germans in Berlin.

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