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Not anger,
that was for the soldiers
when they first saw the camps,
the chord-wood stacks of dead
the mountain of human ashes
the lime pits with their moving dead
whole bodies, a hand or head
rising on the stench of gas.

Not anger.
Sorrow,
yes sorrow for five million Jews
ostracised by their friends
stolen away from their homes
in the jack-boot night
after years of hate and terror
to come to this, these barrack sheds
all dignity starved away.

Yes sorrow,
sorrow for six million other’s
who saw the flames of humanity
rise from the chimneys, smelled burning flesh,
saw the truth in dead black smoke;
smelled the sick-sweet stench of death
on the filthy wooden bunks,
starvation in already lifeless eyes.

Yes sorrow
for the millions of years of life
surrendered in so short a time;
for those few that survived
seeing forever the shuffling column,
their parents, brothers, sisters
stripped out of their lives forever
at the whim of a Nazi baton.

Despair.
Oh yes despair,
for mankind, for civilisation,
the present and the future;
the dreadful legacy we bear
seeing how hate poisons the mind.
Only the scale was greater than before,
and we must count the numbers in our dreams
knowing that we – mankind – were there.

Despair.
Oh yes despair.

 

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