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Poetry after Auschwitz

July 20, 2019

'Poetry is pointless – like kicking a stone’
- overheard at a poetry reading

At the start and the end of this long, straight road:
a silent child, a house in flames,
a leafless tree, an empty town
 
He kicks a stone to watch it leap
and skitter on the flattened clay,
then slow and stall and go to ground
 
Along the forest edge stand those
he's failed to save: he sings his song;
his unknown patrons hear no sound
 
and yet he feels their silence deep
beneath his feet, and sees beyond
the tree, the child, the house, the town


Published in the Kent & Sussex Folio, 2019
5 Comments leave one →
  1. Raymond Offenheiser permalink
    July 20, 2019 9:12 pm

    Hi Phil

    Your beautiful Auschwitz poem struck a chord. Spent the last two weeks traveling through the beautiful Bavarian countryside, with detours to Bertesgaden, Dachau, and the Jewish museum in Munich. Prompted lots of reflection on origins of fascism in those times and in our times and what they might have in common. Fintan O’Toole’s recent article in the Irish Times suggests we are in a pre-fascist phase of trial runs of what the real experience will be like. Testing our resolve and our nerve. I find myself reading Bonhoeffer and Niebuhr for solace and wisdom.

    Best

    Ray

    On Sat, Jul 20, 2019 at 4:58 PM Phil Vernon’s blog wrote:

    > Phil Vernon posted: ” ‘Poetry is pointless – like kicking a stone’ – > overheard at a poetry reading At the start and the end of this long, > straight road: a silent child, a house in flames, a leafless tree, an empty > town He kicks a stone to watch it leap and skitter on” >

  2. Paul permalink
    July 20, 2019 9:13 pm

    I just read this to a friend. She is still gape mouthed.

  3. Helen permalink
    July 20, 2019 9:34 pm

    There’s a saving/not saving theme going on today! Are we all kicking stones anyway?

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