MIDWEEK POETRY: End of the line.

pagezzI have always been intrigued and saddened by the Holocaust. To my young mind the deaths of so many people to further the aims of a madman was incomprehensible, it still is . As time passed I read whatever I could find on the subject. Not out of morbid fascination but with a need to understand how human beings can do these things. What drives them and why do others stand by and let the wholesale slaughter go on. The way the Nazis used trains for transporting the victims horrified me as a boy, I loved watching trains go by. In my dream symbology when I dream of trains it heralds death. I usually see someone riding on it. The imagery was branded on my psyche so long ago. This abhorrent chapter in humanities story began a lifetime ago, sadly it is still being written. I believe we should never forget, nor should our children’s children be allowed to forget that mankind can stoop so low.

End of the line.
Shuffling feet, confusion.
Herded, bullied into
cattle cars.
Scared voices,
Mama, where are we going?
Hush my baby, hush.
Endless rolling, rocking.
Fear stinks.
The old
have no answers.
Endless theories.
We’re going to work.
We’re going to a new town.
Sometimes they stop
and remove the bodies.
Or, they lie there,
faces twisted in death.
Safe now.
Clamouring at tiny gaps
sniffing in the
cold air but not the air
of freedom.
Train whistles, like
banshees screeching.
Lines switching,
Wheels grinding.
Couplings clanging.
Doors flung open,
Light streams in.
Thank God.
Grey uniforms,
harsh faces.
Dogs barking,
men barking.
Herded, sorted.
Mama, don’t leave me.
No my baby.
Pushed, kicked,
A garden hedge
hides horror.
Shuffling feet,
more dogs.
Whips crack in
the cold air.
Dirty, oily smoke.
Whooshing, choking,
belches from black
You’re filthy,
remove your clothes,
Cold concrete rooms,
cannot hide the smell
of fear.
Doors locked,
where’s the water?
Where’s my Mama?
Clouds of gas
where water should be.
Choking, gasping,
clawing their way to,
Doors opening.
Walking skeletons
in striped pyjamas,
hurl the mounded dead
onto trolleys.
No time to waste,
the ovens are hungry.
Not big enough
to fuel a fire,
She lays with other
little ones on a
production line
of hate.
Doors slam shut.
Flames devour them,
and their ashes
are mixed with untold
A mother huddles
naked, assessed
for suitability and
to a God
who has fallen
silent and asks.
Where is my baby?

Laurie Smith©2013


25 thoughts on “MIDWEEK POETRY: End of the line.

  1. hitandrun1964

    I think that’s the best thing you have written, of all the thingsI have read, that is. It’s perfect…you left nothing out. It should be published where others can see it and where it can be down on paper, encased in hard covers. Outstanding work Laurie. Truly outstanding. Please send it to be published, if you haven’t already done so.


    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Why thank you Gigi, that is very kind of you. It must have been brewing in my subconscious for a while, because it came out the night before I posted it. I haven’t published it anywhere else. I actually read it again this afternoon when I saw your comment. I can still feel the pain.


  2. Wordifull Melanie

    Powerful imagery Laurie. The tears are flowing….

    I too sought out things to watch and read to try to understand the incomprehensible atrocity that was the holocaust. From the Diary of Anne Frank to Sophie’s Choice…and I still cannot fathom.


  3. Pingback: Doors are for people with things to hide | SoshiTech

  4. bgbowers

    This is still one of the most difficult things for me to comprehend in our history; the stories and images are so disturbing and no matter how many times I see them or hear them I am never desensitized to the horrors. This is not the first of your poems to make me cry. Deftly written and tremendously evocative.


    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Thanks again Raani, yes I am happy that you thought of me with this award and I value our blogging relationship. The truth is I don’t see myself as deserving to put them up. So I accept the thought behind it and will cherish that more than anything else.


      1. Raani York

        Your too humble, Laurie! I do think your blog deserves the awards. They’re given to you with all my heart! 🙂 Keep on blogging, my friend! 🙂


  5. Theresa

    Thank you, Laurie, for remembering and honoring. I could smell the fear and hear the plaintive cries of the forgotten. We cannot – I will not – forget.


  6. lifechange90

    I put a ‘like’ on the post, as I like that you have presented it, and it needs to be, so others will perhaps be moved by it also. But I don’t “like” what is there…

    I know people both who either deny this happened, or they seek ways to justify it. My disgust with them is total. Sure, it was war and terrible things happen in war. But those people weren’t at war, they were just spectators in the front row – and not by choice!

    I like the old ways better, when the king rode on his charger at the head of the advance, and was in the front line of the war. If they are that committed to and serious about using war as the means to their nefarious ends, they need to be as committed to it as the guys they send out. And leave the spectators out of it!

    I wonder if the “kings” had to fight on the front line today, how much war and angst there would be around the planet? My guess is, a whole lot less!


    1. laurie27wsmith Post author

      Thanks Ray, Yes the like button is a funny thing. I think it’s there so at least you know people are actually looking at your blog. It is the civilian population who suffers and in the case of the Holocaust victims, the unwanted. It’s strange that those who deny it occurred can’t look at the abundant evidence. is it because they don’t believe people could do that? Yet nobody is really denying, Cambodia, or Uganda or the Baltic states. All places where similar atrocities occurred. It’s still in living memory and I think that’s the problem. Once the baby boomers are gone then I don’t think anyone other than the Israelis and Jews in general will care.
      I don’t think many kings of today would want to fight a war first hand. We have robotics to do it for us in many cases.. It’s a complex state of affairs and I could go on for hours about it. Thanks for dropping by Ray.


  7. Pagadan

    Another of your great–epic even, as someone said–poems that should be shared more widely. (I’ve watched Shoah and othe documentaries with footage taken by soldiers and others. You’ve captured those pictures well.)…



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