[ An End to Intolerance (Volume 5 -- June 1997) ]


Yad Vashem
Quartet of Poems



By Liz Stagg,
St Paul's Anglican School
Warragul, Victoria, Australia

In December I visited Yad Vashem, the Jewish people's national memorial to the Holocaust, in Jerusalem, Israel. I wandered through the memorials and listened intently to the witnesses' accounts and was left with a wealth of feelings I was unable to express. But now I have been able to record the essence of these emotions and relay them to you through this quartet of poems:


I

The Children's Gallery

Slowly I begin to understand
The colorful images
Lack childhood innocence.

An angel's halo glows
Above a burnt body
Where a sun should reign.

A droplet of water falls
From a mother's eye
Rather than from a cloud.

Tragically the simple drawings
Fail to convey the beauty of life
Which children see.


II

A Ghetto Survivor

The haunted mind
Is speaking to us
Silently we listen.

The unscarred body
Is blistered within
Feeling immense pain.

Inwardly I cry
My soul weeps
Hearing her message of despair.

Death is cruel
Life is short
Memories fail to say goodbye.


III

The Valley of Communities

A valley lies deep
cut and crafted.
a mapping network of
Europe.

Stones rise up
sharp and structured,
forming high walls of
sorrow.

Shuffling pebbles round and moulded,
pave the way of
death.

Face-to-face
engraved with names,
yellowed blocks of
remembrance.

[ Valley of Communities Memorial ]
Valley of Communities Memorial
at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem


IV

The Children's Memorial

Four candles
Five hundred mirrors
One million flickers of light.

Two eyes
Closed in fear
Three steps into the chamber.
Two hands grasping the rails
Ten knuckles slowly turning white.

One soul
Praying for strength
One body filled with courage.

Two eyes
slowly open wide
One flame I focus on.

Three thoughts
Children, loving, God,
One blinding light my guide.


Copyright © 1997-2005 by iEARN. All rights reserved.

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