JOIN THE ZEN PEACEMAKERS FOR THE 21st RETURN TO THE CAMP OF AUSCHWITZ/BIRKENAU
“What could Auschwitz— this place oceans-deep with death and the source of so much fear-turned-hate in the hearts of people I deeply love— possibly teach me about living a full, beautiful, wise, compassionate life?” – Kineret Yardena. Participant of 2015 retreat.
Poem by Wisława Szymborska (Polish poet and recipient of Nobel Prize in literature)
In sealed box cars travel
names across the land,
and how far they will travel so,
and will they ever get out,
don’t ask, I won’t say, I don’t know.
The name Nathan strikes fist against wall,
the name Isaac, demented, sings,
the name Sarah calls out for water
for the name Aaron that’s dying of thirst.
Don’t jump while it’s moving, name David.
You’re a name that dooms to defeat,
given to no one, and homeless,
too heavy to bear in this land.
Let your son have a Slavic name,
for here they count hairs on the head,
for here they tell good from evil
by names and by eyelids’ shape.
Don’t jump while it’s moving. Your son will be Lech.
Don’t jump while it’s moving. Not time yet.
Don’t jump. The night echoes like laughter
mocking clatter of wheels upon tracks.
A cloud made of people moved over the land,
a big cloud gives a small rain, one tear,
a small rain-one tear, a dry season.
Tracks lead off into black forest.
Cor-rect, cor-rect clicks the wheel. Gladeless forest.
Cor-rect, cor-rect. Through the forest a convoy of clamors.
Cor-rect, cor-rect. Awakened in the night I hear
cor-rect, cor-rect, crash of silence on silence.
(translated by Magnus J. Krynski)