February 5, 2015 by mortulo
Dear readers of this nearly inconsequential blog,
Yes, yes, I said that soon I would return with the story of Pheidippides and because many of you who come here probably like to run, you very much wish to hear that story. It’s not ready yet. While you human beings are storytellers and runners, I am not. I’ve only gotten to observe those characteristics for a long time now along with your imaginations, so somehow it has influenced me, that I perhaps have delusions of grandeur too, that I have imagination and skill.
But it is sometimes slow and of course I have many deaths to attend to.
A day of great wind. Snow early and bright sunlight later. Time to run.
I shadowed the blog host today some. He thought about a poem that he didn’t write so much as find. A found poem. He talked to himself about it and I listened:
Many years now since I wrote a poem that touched upon the Holocaust. A Train to Treblinka. Maybe not so terrible, but maybe a bit self-aggrandizing. Maybe not as good as a poem about the Holocaust ought to be, considering the gravity of what happened then. Forgive me. But am I right here, did I hear a poem in the translated words of a Holocaust survivor in that BBC documentary? Sometimes I feel so, feel strongly that it is simply a poem, beautiful in its terribleness, terrifying in its simplicity. And it also terrifies me because I know I can never write so well. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be shown, that it shouldn’t be spoken. It only means that it should be shown and that somehow I must commit to this idea that just like if I continue to improve by running, I can continue by writing and thinking about writing.
So I’m going to take it upon myself to show this poem that the blog host found in BBC’s World at War — The Final Solution Part 2.
Arrival at Auschwitz
“Hello, sir, tell me —
What is it here? Where have I come to?”
His answer was that he broke
out laughing. He patted my shoulder
and said to me in Polish,
“My son, my son, you have come
to the heaven commanded.”
That’s how he said it. I didn’t know
what it was. So he said to me, “Turn around,”
and I turned round. He pointed to the far distance
where smoke was rising, thick smoke, very far away.
He said, “See? See that smoke? There’s a chimney
there and you will go out through that.”
Of course, I was so often there at Auschwitz. Even today, the memory and smell will not leave me alone. Yes, I often shadow people when they might die, but that memory shadows me. Please forgive me that I was there? Can you understand that while nothing can pardon the horrors inflicted upon those people, that at least in death there is peace and an end of suffering? So I did my duty, so I ended their suffering in the only way I could. I gathered them gently.
I also grew strangely eager to see certain men one day die.
I’ve not been quite the same ever since and there’s even a rumor that my own shadow grew darker from the strange wetness that escaped my pale eyes during those times.