Into The Light: Safe Haven,1944

Into the Light: Safe Haven,1944

('And you that shall cross from shore to shore
years hence are more to me
and more in my meditations, than you might suppose.'
Walt Whitman, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”)

Thank God for you, Henry Gibbins,
ship of dreams laden with bedraggled brethren
dark and fair, tall and short, all frail-boned and gaunt,
each and every one a survivor
reborn in the wake of conscience.
Blessed is their leader, Ruth Gruber;
praised, her leader, Franklin D. Roosevelt;
and you, Captain Korn —
your kind face and outstretched arms,
your smiling crew, their helpful hands,
your great vessel's stalwart bulk, hallowed halls,
glistening white toilets, your sky-crowned decks
surrounded by sea-speckled rail —
a far cry from barbed wire.
Divine are you, clean fresh air that fills sunken chests,
lungs ashen from the fires of Auschwitz-Birkenau,
Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau, Treblinka…
And you, buoyant sea, revered for strong currents,
changing tides, gulls that glide the breeze
and assuage wounded spirit;
and you, dining halls bejeweled with vegetables,
cornucopia of meats, kaleidoscope of sweets that swell
shrunken bellies, smooth withered souls.
“Are you America? ”
Soft pillows and ample blankets nestled in vast tiers
of bunks, nightmares you help smother,
sweet dreams you set in motion;
talent shows, chess tournaments, movies,
“Are you America? ”
Oh, most wondrous throng — my ancestry —
it is you who are America, my America!

by Ruth Sabath Rosenthal

Comments (1)

Beauty is life’s treasure Hidden in the bowels of gods. Spreading herself in thousand arts, On all the corners of earth..................Beautiful thoughts.