Monday, July 5, 2010

Lullaby of the Trains

One of the outstanding poems in Elisabeth Murawski's recent book Zorba's Daughter is "Lullaby of the Train," about the transport of Gypsy children to the Nazi death camps. Ms. Murawski has allowed me to post the poem here.

Lullaby of the Train

With eyes like empty
begging bowls
the orphan gypsy girls

have stopped complaining
of shoes that pinch
their toes, of dresses

with holes. The town
clock releases
a knight on horseback,

announces the hour.
The children can’t tell
time yet. Numbers

on paper, they shuffle
forward, too weary
and hungry to cry

or look back.
The German nun waves
to her charges, obedient

as shadows. Click clack
go the wheels
kissing the railroad track,

lullaby of the train.
Click clack, click clack
to the smoky town in Poland.


To read more about the fate of the gypsies during the Holocaust, please visit the Jewish Virtual Library.

Ms. Murawski's book, winner of the 2010 May Swenson Prize, is available at Amazon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The link is to a film about what the Romani call the Porraimos: Europe's Gypsies in the Holocaust.

Christina Pacosz