Thursday, March 20, 2014

What the War Taught Her

Today, at George Washington High School here in Danville, I did a poetry reading about my mom and her experiences as a slave laborer in Nazi Germany.  Here's one of the poems I read, from my book  Echoes of Tattered Tongues.

What the War Taught Her

My mother learned that sex is bad, 
Men are worthless, it is always cold 
And there is never enough to eat.

She learned that if you are stupid
With your hands you will not survive
The winter even if you survive the fall.

She learned that only the young survive
The camps.  The old are left in piles
Like worthless paper, and babies
Are scarce like chickens and bread.

She learned that the world is a broken place 
Where no birds sing, and even angels
Cannot bear the sorrows God gives them.

She learned that you don't pray 
Your enemies will not torment you.  
You only pray that they will not kill you.


The photo above is a still taken from  Siege, a documentary by Julien Bryan about the fall of Warsaw.


Maureen said...

I purchased and have re-read several times your collection, which is so fine, so moving. Thank you.

John Guzlowski said...

Maureen, thank you for reading my poems about my parents.

It means a lot to me to be able to share their stories.