Poem: A holiday camp

Photo: Joe Cook

Some may find this upsetting. Discretion is advised. 


A holiday camp

Hedged in wire
Where thousands lived –
If you can call that living –
With no hope of
Survival
No
It wasn’t living
It was surviving
And always dying

They call it extermination
Where no one laughed and those who dared cry were shot
A sobering shrine
A ditch of rusty blood
Of gruesome torture
Where ethics never came into play
And cruelty was copacetic
Not disgusting or revolting

I understand
At least I try
This history is vital
To grasp
To grow
Only I wish
I didn’t have to behold
The rooms of
Slaughter
Screams still
Echoing off the walls
Splattered with dried lives
I wish
I didn’t have to imagine
Ripping out the teeth of my sister
And watching her limp spirit
Thrown into an oven
To be burnt, not baked
Looking out the picayune window
To see her soul sprinkled in a pumpkin patch

In this place
Where history can never be erased
They tried to escape
Every pebble in the gravel is a symbol
And I can’t stand to stay

Still
I must remember
We cannot forget
The pain
That makes our eyes
Wet
We fret
We are afraid
But we do not know the truth of fear
They spent their lives
Breathing in the terror
We only see in horror
Movies

Walking past the chimneys and at first
That’s all they were, just chimneys but
I stopped to stare and saw the smoke
Made of hopes and dreams of men
Women and children who suffered in silence

They did not deserve this and I do not deserve bliss
If I think my life will end
If I can’t sit next to a friend
I think
Briefly
Of all they had and
I know it’s not fair
To compare my life to
Theirs
But

You said
Come in and see where they were murdered
I stand on the threshold
I don’t want to go
I don’t want to see
These images of pure hell will never be gone
From my memory
Permanently

All I know
Is that the howls and wails
Of young and old
Swirling throughout
Are forever retained

I can’t concentrate
On filling in my workbook, I have this
Burning
Churning
Feeling in my bones
Crawling underneath my skin
A ringing in my head and a pounding in
My heart
I’m shaking

And yet
Past the blasting in my ears is
Calm
A tense calm
An uneasy, sick calm
An empty calm
Drooping in the air
Hanging by a noose
Natzweiler
Dead

By: Anonymous