Friday, July 1, 2011

Beets: A Reading


"Beets" is one of four poems I wrote after watching Schindler's List with my mother. She wasn't the kind of person to talk about what had happened to her in the war, the way the Nazis killed her mother and sister and her sister's baby, and the years my mom spent as a slave laborer. Most of the time when I asked her about her past, she would wave me away and tell me simply a piece of wisdom she learned in the camps: "If they give you bread, eat it. If they beat you, run away."

This changed after we watched Schindler's List together. She liked the movie, thought it was powerful, but finally judged it inadequate. She said that no film could ever capture the things that happened in the camps. After saying that, she started telling me a series of stories about her life in the war. The poem "Beets" is one of those stories.



____________________

"Beets" appears in my book Lightning and Ashes (available from Amazon and Steel Toe Books).

I posted another poem in this series about the stories my mom told about the slave labor camps earlier. It's called "What the War Taught Her" and you can see the reading by clicking here.

3 comments:

Jan Erickson said...

Thank you. Very moving. Powerful and sad. But thank you for making sure we won't forget.

sonia said...

thank you -so very powerful. my dad died before i could ask him what life was like as a forced labourer in Germany. you have acted as a witness when the people that were there could/would not. that is very important.

John Guzlowski said...

Sonia and Jan, thanks for watching the video. It means a lot to me to know people are listening to the stories my parents told.