Doves Will Fly Out of the Penal Company Barrack in Birkenau | Teen Ink

Doves Will Fly Out of the Penal Company Barrack in Birkenau

November 19, 2010
By exoticfall GOLD, Windham, Maine
exoticfall GOLD, Windham, Maine
18 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Child, this I will draw for you on the ceiling

trudge through mud and Typhus, dreams of healing


we sleep and dream inside this war machine

we rest, and die wide eyed-

cooped with as much regard as fowl starved for flavor and

killed with a butcher's knife; we are 'inhuman' yet we are still alive.

it is in this war machine that we dream of flight

this war machine we die; in our sleep, at night
when the wind blows and sings the never-forgotten 'Ani Ma'amin'
we seek shelter from this gruesome German winter wind
scattering the burned remains of the Torah and Hemingway across
Canada and the mud and the shallow graves, forgotten in the Black forest and outside Polish Villages,
carrying across the Atlantic, singeing every Jewish passport put on the back-burner:
The wind sings in tones of silent stillness and greatest grief;
“I believe, with a complete belief,
in the coming of the Messiah.
And even though he may tarry,
I will await him, each and every day.”
And in this deadly-efficient dream of life, we will walk to our death in complete fear
our bodies will burn in chimneys and our children will die before our eyes,
the cogs of the machine will turn and fuel will be our Blood-
but child, child, calm now, in this death we shall transform into doves:

doves soar out of a crematorium chimney
bodies pile high into the sun
all of these never- forgotten lives are

all doves, with living, breathing freedom only imagined or dreamed of or yearned
for with every fiber of every conceivable form of human thought and drawn like the transcript of a dream, like the amber clouds of human spirit, written with graphite on a Birkenau wall
six million souls

starved and worked to the barest of bones
no longer a recognizable human being
once beautiful, millions who suffered more than the grayest shade of white:

millions of doves should fly out of the chimney as one alabaster cloud and perch
on the heads of everyone attending the Nuremberg Rally
and perch along the walls of Auschwitz and Birkenau
and cross the Atlantic and line the senate's window boxes where Black Roses grow
Look into the windows of Hitler's villa,
then, with a lift of wings, together,

fly into the sun

toward heaven

The author's comments:
I wrote this poem in response to a picture of a dove drawn with chalk on a barrack ceiling in Birkenau. The adverage lifespan of those in the barrack was only six months and those in residence were subject to the unabashed horrors of the Holocaust. The poem contains the traditional Jewish song 'Ani Ma'amin' that many Jews sang as they marched toward the gas chambers upon entry to the death camps.

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