Saturday, 28 January 2017


Yesterday was holocaust memorial day, and this week's Saturday poem reflects on those terrible acts of genocide. I make no apology for the photo above. We must see and feel the horror if we are every to avoid a drift into those horrors again.

Those bodies on the cart, frail emaciated corpses, were once human beings, once sons and daughters, fellow human beings, and then they were sucked into a killing machine, dehumanised, degraded, tortured, and finally exterminated. But before that time, they had laughed, and played, and loved, had friends, some married, some with children of their own. They were people just like all of us. And then a dark empire arose, and their world came to an end.

The British burnt this typhus-ridden place to the ground soon after liberation. Today Belsen resembles a landscaped garden more than a gravesite. Lush acres are interrupted by occasional gravestones, including one for Anne and Margot Frank, and raised mounds of earth – mass graves with marker stones stating: ‘Here lie 2,500 dead.’ ‘Here lie 1,000 dead.’ ‘Here lie 800 dead…”

We must never forget.


The day of freedom, but who knew?
Humans turned to rag and bone:
Faces of survivors, so very few,
Emaciated, weak, lying prone.

Everywhere the smell of death,
Dead bodies, rotting in decay;
The dying taking final breath:
Road to death along this way

Bodies on road and rutted track,
Dying, every hour, every second;
Corpse mounds, the dead in stack:
Dark angel came and beckoned

And now we remember, time to say,
Never again, never again, we pray

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