A Minute (Auschwitz June 7,1941 - 12: 01 Pm)

They wallowed for a stricken minute
More in the blood and mud
Helpless they tried to stand, gagging
Hauled by their wrists crawling to dry sand

These were the chosen for the day
Staggering from the killing ground
To the small pond of human excretion
They flopped and rubbed hands
Slashing the filth from their chins
Scrubbing it from knees and elbows

They sat another minute
Their hands and faces dripping
Nothing stirred but the stench of death
They knew it was their last minute,

An eerie requiem went up
As their skin peeled off so easily from their bone
Heaped now as one
The howling souls turned into vapor

The resident stench remained
It was common
The beast slept well this night
As the pile was the highest yet.

Daylight came too quickly
The stream of condemned
Shooed from their pens
Moving slowly, almost reluctantly
They stared with a sad look of relief
As calm after a long journey

No one could stop the babies from crying,
They would be first
The killing ground was silent
Nothing could be seen between the herd

It was very dark inside
Between the snortings and stompings
The hot breath slapped their faces
In their nostrils was an odor rank and fierce and primal

Suddenly with a rumble and a roar
The screaming agony of death
Tumbling backward, barking chins, dropping heads
Piles upon piles tripping against each other
Down they fell like leaves in wintry weather
To rest beyond the gate

As more would come
Peering out from the small opening in their pens
Their eyes blinking, sunken, adjusting to light
The pile became unglued
The rest remained lined up against the fence
They were next

They embraced the wires like long lost friends
Stammering and swaying, falling and crawling
The horde torn down, weak with relief
A faint prayer heard in Hebrew

They put their back to the fencepost
Hands held out
Slowly, dubiously
They came making a magic ring of prayer
Then closed it tight, heads bowed
They closed their eyes
Bracing and embracing each other
They bumped cheeks and noses gently
Touching faces

A minute passed
Deaf, blind, starving, dieing
They joined in hope and fear
The warm fur of their humanity
They stood guard over their last minute
Only a minute created together
A red raw sun chinned on the horizon
A new day dazzled for the beast

by Louise Bizzari

Comments (11)

Well-done. Is the time on the clock right?
I spent a day at Bergen-Belsen camp. As a peacetime soldier, looking, listening, feeling. No birds sang, the wind veered away. We went by coach, noisy, cracking jokes, talking and laughing. We left by coach, quiet, thoughtful, just talking softly. Everyone should go there at least once. Then it would never happen again.
.... (speechless) ! excellent poem, well done! HBH
I couldn't finish reading this. Not that it's bad. Not at all. Just too much for me to look at.
How do you do this? How do you go from dream filled to awesome rancor. Marvelous-What depth-This poem is truly painful and so descriptive ******* 7 Stars truly Brandon
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