Shining threads

Shining threads

Friday, 31 December 2010

Writing poetry after Auschwitz

The images came into my life, slowly over time, until it was made clear that the recent past was deeply troubled.

Adorning the corridors of collective memory are pictures of camps where concentration is annihilated by the tedium of explicit oppression and slaughter.

Many declared that this was where God died, finally, the chosen people decimated by another chosen people.

We all do the will of God since the gift is freedom.

Surely poetry was written and thought and remembered in the dormitories where people, ordinary and exceptional, exceptional and ordinary, ordinarily exceptional, exceptionally ordinary, waited to die.

There is a period of grief, of turning inward, of negation and spiritual asceticism, where things are purified and emotions cleansed, as best they can.

And then...

Poetry can not die, just as water cannot disappear from these world-cycles. There is always a welling-up. Culture can build dams but the impulse breaks through in some. Who deliver to others. No-one is untouched by poetry, even after Auschwitz.

Especially after Auschwitz.

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