By Cinna, the poet
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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