Friday, April 10, 2009

NaPoWriMo #10

One does not speak of death(1),
the words kept their magic
even in this strange country
where the Lord has forsaken us.

We had lost our ways since our guides
were drawn in quicksand long ago. With
the end
of this journey nowhere in sight
all we can do is watch our people die

on the side of the roads. We're told
that there is not time 
to stop
and bury them according to the rites.
Our leaders pull us forward in the endless journey

we march, we lose our dead, our memories and know
that nothing'll be left soon, not even shadows (2).

(1) A quotation from Shoah, and a poem by Anne Ranasinghe.
(2) "Not even shadows" is a poetry book published in Colombo, Sri Lanka - I used the title of the book and lines from one of the poems "Umsiedlungsaktion - One does not speak of death" for the NaPoWriMo#10 prompt "Thrift Store" since the book printed in 1991 is hard to find in US. 
Anne Ranasinghe, born Anneliese Katz,  is an English language poet living in Sri Lanka and  a Holocaust survivor. She moved to Sri Lanka after marrying a Sinhalese doctor and, from my best knowledge, she embraced the local culture. 
"Umsiedlungsaktion - One does not speak of death" is a poem about and for refugees , rooted in her childhood experiences but also relevant for the refugees from  Sri Lankan conflict. 


gautami tripathy said...

Thanks for introducing us to a new poet.

I like this a lot.

A man, his fiddle and crows

susan said...

I, too, really like this. The background information enriches my appreciation for it.

Hope you'll contribute to this week's Diversity Roll Call. Glad you linked.

It's always good to read you.


Crafty Green Poet said...

This is a very interestign post, thanks

Annamari said...


I hope you did like it.


I just hope to have a little bit more time.i am going to try it for sure...
thank you

Paul said...

That is a brilliant refugee poem, captures the feeling perfectly of that long walk which has been undertaken again and again over the centuries. It's a beautifully made poem with a solemn and dignified tone.

Deb said...

This is gorgeous. Brilliant. I went last night to a HaShoah event (w/ my husband who is Jewish), so your poem speaks echos back and forth.

It is a poem for all people. Everyone who has walked the path, or must be recalled on the path.

I hope finals have (?!) gone well and you are well.

Annamari said...

remind me in the second week of may to send you some of her poems. The original is better -I think you'll like her a lot

many thanks. the finals keep me busy -I got a good excuse to be a lazy poet...

utopianfragments said...

beautiful work...
i loved the first line and from there is rolled down, though on hard ground, it rolled softly to my ears and tongue..

Ana said...

I appreciate you taking the time to read through my blog.
I hope you felt “welcomed” …
And if you like this , you might enjoy the original as well –some of her poetry had been published in Israel.

utopianfragments said...

thank you.
i surely read, and will try to show up a bit more often.
will look for her. never heard the name before. think she wrote in Hebrew?

Ana said...

You are much welcomed.
Form all I know she only wrote in English and German ( and only few poems are in German).
My guess is that she does not write in Hebrew. She was separated from her family when she was 13 , because her principal was able to send some of the students as “exchange students” to England . Her parents died in the concentration camps, so she never saw them again.

I had discovered her poetry browsing for Sri Lankan poetry. You can find several recording of her reading it here:
but the sound quality is quite poor