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Main entrance to Auschwitz - Birkenau

Red

Red
Red is blood
Red on a heart
Can you see blood on the floor?
People die, people survive
Why is this red all over?
Our world, my world, your world
Is nearly half red
Violence is not the answer
Peace is the answer
Can you understand the plan?
Red is blood
Red on a heart
Can you see blood on the floors?
People die, people survive

 

A Muslim Is Who I Shall Remain

I imagine myself in the time of World War II
Would Hitler kill me?
“Muslims… Muslims who I do not like”
Hitler would say, I believe
“Would my culture offend you?”
I shall ask whoever wants my life
Die I shall die still to be who I am.
Not in a hundred years would I forget
Who I am.
Who I am is what makes my life,
So what is it to live without a culture of mine?
I shall die but remain who I am.
A war isn’t a weapon to separate my culture from me.
To live without what you are is
Living with a body, which holds no mind.  
My culture, my variety is as good as gold 
Mine.

 

My Patch

Inspired by Inge Auerbacher

I try, I try not to get caught.
My heart is pounding — thump after thump.
My friends are being taken
One after another.
I see their faces crying and confused.
I try to help, but there is nothing I can do.
They are sent away without any clothes.  
Their parents cry and fall on their knees begging 
and begging that their kids will be safe. 
I hope and hope they come back fine —
But that is not in the Final Solution Design.

Jennifer, Sumaya and Michael are eighth graders at Ditmas Intermediate School, where creative and imaginative teaching and programs have given us regular contributers to 30 Days of Poetry. This year Holocaust survivor, author and activist Inge Auerbacher paid a visit to their classroom and these poems capture some of the varied student responses to her story. Teachers were Dr. Rose Reissman and Ms. Rosinda Rodriguez. You will see more from Ditmas this season.

It's difficult to teach these horrors in the face of youth and innocence, but then youth and innocence have to face them. The purity and honesty of their poetic responses are to be admired.

Come back for another day of poetry tomorrow. If you want to be part of 30 Days of Poetry, send your poems to 30daysofpoetry4@gmail.com until May 30th. I look forward to hearing from you!

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