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Celebrating Poetry and Fiction

The Poem for the month of May is "Long Gone"  

                  Long Gone

 

I.

Jackboots through a Berlin street:

The earth itself shook with fear;

My father lived but the others died;

The man survived through wit and luck.

 

I wasn’t there to hear that thunder

And yet I hear it constantly

Through ancient ears

Within my mind;

That horror took place

Before I was born

But resounds

Within my consciousness;

A cruel cadence:

The pitiless rhythm

Of a prior age

That reverberates today

Through me;

It shatters my inner peace,

The shards of which sink

To the depths

Of an unhappy harbor:

Acerbic currents;

Debilitating guilt

Permeates those waters;

A legacy from my father:

A survivor’s burden

For the sin of living,

An internal confliction

That I inherited;

An unwitting gift

From a gentle man

Who watched men march

And heard the crash

Of heavy boots

Through Berlin streets;

He wore a yellow star back then

And now he is long gone.

 

II.

I can’t leave the house

Even though,

Beyond the door,

The peace of hollyhock

And willow trees prevail;

I swore to myself

That I’d try, at least,

To take a walk

But that promise is one

I’ve broken before

And will break again;

My father’s guilt

Is alive in me.

 

The sun peers down,

Searches for me

Like a chaperon

To take me by the arm

And usher me along

A winding path

Through green fields,

Remind me again

Of the panoply of life,

An irrepressible array;

I can share in it

If I leave the house,

Wander out,

Breathe the air

And walk among the living.

But don’t ask me now

To do today

What I haven’t done before;

It is late and today

Is simply not the day

To renounce a legacy;

I am not ready

To return a bequest

Left to me

By a sorrowful donor,

Sorely missed;

He wore a yellow star back then

And now he is long gone.

("Long Gone" first appeared  in Unleash Lit,  July 2023)

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