IOI (7/4/1934 / Hebburn.Co Durham U.K)

Krystallnacht 1938

I fear the sound of booted feet.
They inspire painful memories
though fragmented and incomplete
I can recall so vividly

The sound of breaking glass and boots.
I was too young to understand
the screaming jeers and gleeful hoots.
As storm troopers took full command

and attacked Jewish properties.
Without restraint from anyone
protestors beaten to their knees.
All semblance of the law had gone.

November nineteen thirty eight
The Nazis had proscribed the Jews
the ninth a night of spite and hate.
Who lost all that they had to lose..

My parents sent me to the States
a privilege for which they had to pay
with everything they had. It grates
upon me still that I survived.

because of their self sacrifice.
The guilt I feel still eats away
because they paid the final price.
I know I am alive today.

Because some cousins took me in
and raised me as American.
Although I was but distant kin
Though I would rather not, I can

recall that night so long ago.
The cries of men in agony
how much is true I do not know.
In dreams I see so vividly

The dreadful scenes I did not see
deeply etched in memory.
A turning point in history.
affecting my whole world and me.

I was a child of only eight
The Nazis killed my family
Though I was saved I had to wait
Til we defeated Germany.

To know for certain they were dead
along with many millions more.
The sound of boots fills me with dread.
I’m glad I can’t remember more.

Now I have children of my own
a fit old man of seventy.
I wonder If I could have shown
their courage which would send me free.


To strangers in a far off land
where they decided I would be
safer. I think I can understand
their only thought was to save me.

I wonder where it all began
I see no reason for it still.
Mans inhumanity to man
and don’t suppose I ever will.

30-Nov-08

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Maya Angelou

Caged Bird

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