A dose of poetry for you: WWII

4 Oct

I checked out a book on World War II poetry today to help me with a story I’m working on. I wanted to share one with you.  This makes the gal who minored in writing and wrote an honors thesis in poetry very, very happy.

Belsen, Day of Liberation
(for Rosey)

Her parents and her dolls destroyed,
her childhood foreclosed,
she watched the foreign soldiers from
the sunlit window whose black bars

Were crooked crosses inked upon
her pallid face. “Liebchen,
Liebchen, you should be in bed.”
But she felt ill no longer.

And because that day was a holy day
when even the dead, it seemed,
must raise, she was allowed to stay
and see the golden strangers who

Were Father, Brother and her dream
of God. Afterwards
she said, “They were so beautiful,
and they were not afraid.”

What I heart most:

  • Putting parents and dolls on the same line almost makes them seem to be of equal importance. To a small girl, the loss of the former is clearly too great to comprehend, so it’s compared to the loss of the former.
  • The imagery of shadows forming black crosses on her face. Black bars make me think “prison,” but “crooked crosses” brings about a whole new image.
  • “… and her dream of God.” That line makes my soul smile.
  • The simplicity of the language. I loathe those romantic poets with the three names because I find their poetry to be inaccessible. I have a conversational writing style, and I appreciate the same in my poetry.
  • Also, I loathe end rhyme, and the single bit of it used here is clearly used because those word choices are the best. It is not  used just to fit some prescribed rhyme scheme that does nothing to advance the story while sounding forced. (What I mean: Remember that song “Superman”? The line “You call me strong, you call me weak/ but still your secrets I will keep” has gotten under my skin for years. Nobody fucking talks like that. Rant: Done.)
  • And because it’s so fantastic, it bears mentioning twice: “… and her dream of God.” I am soooo stealing this line for something of my own.

One Response to “A dose of poetry for you: WWII”

  1. Missa Lee October 4, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    As an creative writing English major with an emphasis in poetry, this makes me happy too. 😉

    I love the punctuation of this poem. I’m a sucker for lines that could be read in different ways thanks to the lack of punctuation and line constraints in poetry. Good choice.

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