Poem Hunter
The Excuse
(1961 / London)

The Excuse

Poem By Ifor ap Glyn

Here in Majdanek,
in the normalised hell of Majdanek,
whose chimneys have long since cooled,
whose last gout of smoke is a distant memory,
the dust still rises...

Here in the tenements next door,
we open the morning curtains
on the normalised hell of Majdanek,
on the wooden huts
where chains of fierce dreams
united Jews each night,

on the millions of widowed shoes
that they left behind,

and on the "Luftgrabe",
- "the grave in the air" -
which swirls around these tenements still …

Here in the darkness of my room,
I bear witness once again;
liver-spotted hands guide our film
through the teeth of the gate.

And it's 1939 once more;
silent waves on a Baltic beach;
a lemonade sea with silver bubbles
bursting in that last sun…

The wind curtains your hair
round your face,
before a young hand retrieves your uncertain smile…
and I see all this now
through a glass darkly…

Outside, the electric for the trams
is like barbed wire on each and every conscience;
the eyes of all
who've passed their three score years and ten,
must be doubted
the eyes that watched so much yet saw nothing,

our excuse is a cancer
in us all …

The film comes to an end;
the last frame burns to nought
and your dust
swirls and falls through the light beam…

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Comments (1)

Historical relevant piece. It's a heart touching sad story impressively narrated in an insightful poem. Thanks for sharing Ifor.