Railway children of the Holocaust

The train no longer had those restful seats of velvet cushions

No proper seats at all in fact, just wood and iron partitions.

No windows with exotic views of lands we might discover,

Boarded up with painted planks. He cried “I want my mama.”


The train embarked upon its course; it left goodwill behind.

We struggled, standing packed in tight, each child in fearful mind.

Where was the loving parent now to hold the children close?

The rocking and the dark, spoke of the end we feared the most.


He held so tightly to my hands, the feeling was all gone.

His tears had wetted all my clothes; his eyes no longer shone.

Now disappeared was that sweet child: gone was that young boy.

Would we ever be the same, and where would we find joy?


The journey took its toll on all, us children of the night.

No warm and cuddly bed for us, no sleeping sound till light.

No room to lie on this hard floor, no space to rest at all

So close was each to everyone, no chance for us to fall.


Our legs were tired, our mouths were dry, but still we travelled on

Till light streaked through the boarded planks; the stars and moon were gone.

Daylight passed to night again and still we travelled forth.

Then suddenly we staggered as the engine changed its course.


The screech of brakes, the hiss of steam, the crash of iron rails,

We stopped at last. Our journeys end.  Each child a breath exhaled.

Was this the place where all our fears would end with tears of joy?

Through open doors the stench of death pushed dread into this boy.


The isolated vista, the smoke from chimneys tall,

Gathered in the morning light as fog about us all.

Hundreds of us stood in lines, fearful and afraid,

Clutching our belongings like soldiers on parade.


We walked to buildings long and black, deep in winters snow.

Leaving cases by the door we entered bowing low,

The tiny door gave no insight to what lay far beyond.

But all we craved was bed and rest and all our fears be gone.

Meeting with an Angel

“Are you ready?” spoke the angel as she gently took my hand,

As we walked along the water’s edge that mingled with the sand.

The sun was warming on my back; the sky was heavenly blue.

There was a kind of calmness that in life I rarely knew.

We moved along so swiftly that ages passed us by.

Scenes from my childhood flashed, like the twinkling of an eye.

Tragic moments mingled with those of happier times

Blurring all the images that were conjured in my mind.

Then the sky grew darker; the angel’s grip held fast.

The sand was whipped about us like sins from days gone past.

I felt the pain of doing wrong, of letting others down,

Of thinking only of myself and how could I gain ground.

We passed through darkness into light so bright my eyes were closed.

I opened them to see a space so large, so cold, I froze.

I shivered in the open space, my body now unclothed,

Ahead of me an open box: was this for my repose?

Again I felt the angel’s touch as she gently took my hand.

It’s time, she said, to make a choice, to make a better stand.

To live a life that’s worthy of the birthright that you own

Not waste your time in idleness but mark the things I’ve shown.

Be kinder to your friends and foes and turn the other cheek.

Be not so harsh with fools you meet but also not so meek.

Don’t wait for me to come back soon and take you by the hand.

And then, as if the light had gone, she swept along the sand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleepless

It’s early but I’m wide awake, tossing in my bed.

A hundred unimportant things are jumbled in my head.

Trying to make sense of stuff, of things I cannot change,

Things long past and things not done, too late to rearrange.

Had I said something out of turn, something set to hurt?

Or someone else mistook the words and thought them much too curt.

Did my opinion mean that much, but wasn’t well expressed?

Or did I let them feel for once that I was unimpressed.

I try to be as thoughtful, as my friends expect I will.

But sometimes my own troubles seem to be a bitter pill.

To take on board another’s trials and give them even thought,

Is just too much, when all inside, I’m barren and distraught.

My life whirls on like some great train along a rocky pass.

Swaying back and forth from disaster then to farce.

Headlong through the darkened tunnels out into the light.

How I crave the peace and calm that follows restful nights.

Lying now alone and tired, aching arms and legs.

Crying out for sleep to come, my aged body begs.

Let the coil of life be gone and all its worries too.

Don’t look to me for answers now, for answers I’ll eschew.

Motivation

I have always had the idea that I could write. However, until I joined a local writing group in August 2018, I had never tried. With encouragement from the group, I began writing poems. Leaving writing until this late in my life has been tragic really: if I had started earlier I might have learnt to do it much better. Thank you for joining my blog and I hope you enjoy what you find.