Journey To Mauthausen
by Roger Marshall
Lullaby baby now a-sleeping
While steel wheels on steel rails
thunder through the night
Towards an unknown but dreaded destiny,
And pale winter moonlight enters
through a chink in the train’s side,
Shines fitfully on the breast of a young girl
And casts a halo around the face
of her sweetly sleeping child.
Lullaby baby softly breathing
While the train plunges into a tunnel
In the barren mountain’s side,
Which fills with acrid smoke
As if they were on their way
To meet the god of fire,
And fifty shrunken bodies gasp for air.
How strangely the soft breath of a little child
Mingles with the groans
Of those condemned to die!
Lullaby baby now awaking,
While the steel wheels squeal to a halt
Alongside a concrete platform,
And 30 freight wagons
Are loudly disembowelled,
Their entrails spilling silently out across the earth
While the baby, enfolded for warmth in maternal arms,
clings eagerly in the dark
To an unneglecting nipple.