We toured . . .

36,000 square feet
2,500 photographs
900 artifacts.

Stared. Imagined inside
dark train cattle car.

Craned necks looking up
vintage portraits, village faces.

Gaped at 4,000 shoes
haphazard heap, all sizes.

Sat at the end,
exhausted by 36,000 square feet
2,500 photographs, 900 artifacts.

Gruesome cold history
what was, compiled
artfully displayed.

And then . . .
her arm around the elderly man
stumbling, sobbing
short sleeved shirt, indelible ink.
I know, Papa, I know.


Written in response to an online 21 day course I am taking, day 7 prompt. I took my first poetry class two years ago from Holly Wren Spaulding and am enjoying working with her again. We toured the museum the first year it opened. Seeing this elderly man, a holocaust survivor, at the end of our visit shockingly reminded us of the holocaust’s reality. Photo  from the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. Posted for OLN Thursday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Bar opens at 3 PM Boston time. Stop in to imbibe some words from creative folks across the globe!

24 thoughts on “We toured . . .

  1. Jane Swanson March 9, 2017 / 4:10 pm

    The shoes and if I am remembering correctly – the scissors. Shoes and Scissors

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 14, 2017 / 3:17 pm

      I recall that too. It was a difficult and jarring museum to go through….made so real when we saw this elderly man with his daughter. Museum displays can feel removed…he was right there.

      Like

  2. frankhubeny March 10, 2017 / 8:54 am

    The Holocaust Memorial at Miami Beach is also very powerful situated next to the botanic garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 14, 2017 / 3:18 pm

      Have not been to that one. In Boston, there are simply three glass towers with numbers etched into them, very closely written, from top to bottom…and steam vents around each tower. Moving in its simplicity.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Grace March 10, 2017 / 9:24 am

    I can’t imagine the horror and sadness looking at those stuff ~ Good one Lillian ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 14, 2017 / 3:18 pm

      Yes — seems inappropriate to click Like for this post or any comments. But I do appreciate your thoughtful comment here.

      Like

  4. Bodhirose March 10, 2017 / 10:15 am

    When you mentioned the cattle cars and the shoes, I knew what the subject was of your viewing. I would have been overcome with emotion if I had witnessed a survivor of that horror sobbing. It just breaks my heart. Thank you for this meaningful poem, Lillian.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 14, 2017 / 3:20 pm

      Seeing museum displays — they seem “removed” from reality. A representation to look at. Seeing this elderly man with his daughter made us feel the continued reality for some and, yes, we caught our breath to see him.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Bev March 10, 2017 / 11:13 am

    A tribute to the holocaust survivors. I cannot fathom the emotion of the old man you witnessed. We must never forget.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 14, 2017 / 3:21 pm

      The inhumanity of human beings — repeated in a myriad of ways ever day. Yes. We must never forget. And more importantly, we must act to recognize and be a part of humanity’s gentleness and caring toward all.

      Like

    • lillian March 14, 2017 / 3:21 pm

      inhumane treatment of humanity……..devastatingly cruel.

      Like

    • lillian March 14, 2017 / 3:23 pm

      exactly….in the museum, it was displays of artifacts, the past. Seeing this elderly man was in the present. And the devastation wrought by humans on humans in human sobbing living form.

      Like

  6. scotthastiepoet March 10, 2017 / 4:40 pm

    Beautifully done – in your original voice, you skilfully capture a profound sense of humanity here

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 14, 2017 / 3:23 pm

      Thankyou for your thoughtful comment.

      Like

  7. therisa March 10, 2017 / 10:01 pm

    Sadly, this HORROR wasn’t limited to religious beliefs but also targetted the LGBT+ community, which many people forget. Like the Jews, we have own symbol that we had to wear at all times, the pink triangle, but unlike the Jews, once the camps were liberated, we were forced to stay there, for several more years afterward, as punishment, for being gay/lesbian or transgendered.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 14, 2017 / 3:24 pm

      Yes. I agree with your thoughtful comment here. Sadly, I do not believe there was any mention of this part of the atrocity wrought by the Nazis.

      Like

  8. Bekkie Sanchez March 12, 2017 / 9:01 pm

    So sad a time in our history. So many Jews and blacks done away with like so much trash. Sometimes I don’t want to be a part of mankind. (A word with “kind” in it is so misleading!)

    Liked by 1 person

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