Stories Left Unspoken: Auschwitz & Partition Survivors

By Cinna, the poet

Courtesy: Wiki
 Danka’s Poem
 It was at the Gates of Auschwitz. 
 Or was it Auschwitz? I’m not sure. 
 I said I was nine years old.
 My brother said I was ten.
 When I went to have my number erased
 The doctor got angry: You should be proud of it. 
 I don’t remember my number now.
 John once wrote it down somewhere.
 A man in Holland discovered some papers. 
 I was the first out of Belsen-Bergen. 
 That’s how I came to know my age.
 I was in Auschwitz only three days.
 Włodka’s War
 She was in the Warsaw Ghetto 
    and someone got her out 
       over the wall.
   But she lost her shoes.
 They led her to a Polish village 
    where a Catholic family 
       took her in.
   But she had no shoes.
 Russian soldiers liberated the village, 
    sang and danced and 
       asked for food. 
   But she had no shoes.
 Someone came, took her 
    to a room in town.
 But she couldn’t go out 
    for she had no shoes.
 And there her father found her.
 The Partition of India
 The neighbours were good to our family, 
 Grandpa tells me, 
 though of course we had to leave the house 
 and everything that was in it.
 There wasn’t any trouble along the way 
 that Grandpa can remember,
 though a lot of people were travelling 
 and in a hurry.
 Of all the terrible things that happened 
 at that time
 nobody says anything,
 they do not talk about it at all.
 What Grandpa does remember is 
 wherever they went
 people came out in the streets 
 and gave them ludoos*.
 He never ate so many in his life.
 A child’s vision? Songs of Innocence? Bland optimism?  

*ludoos — Indian sweets

Cinna, the poet or John Drew has been a university teacher on both sides of the Himalaya and of the Atlantic.

First published in Points of Departure (CPW Eds, 2017)



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