©2018 by John Nuttall Christian faith Poetry. Proudly created with Wix.com

Several years ago I was in Prague staying with a friend who lives there.. He invited me for a trip out to a place called Terezin . It is a walled town, and was used for imprisonment in both World Wars .. the Nazis used it in the 2nd War to house Jews, dissidents and Resistance fighters.. Many died of sickness and disease in the terrible and overcrowded situations, many were shot or killed , and thousands took the journey from here to the Extermination sites..

I went to the Museum , a simple place that deeply affected me, with it’s children art  and photograhs and accounts of the horrors that took place here and in other places …  A remarkable matter is that the Jews being held here established their own council to make representations and deal with matters of concern , but also many of the very gifted captives used their talent in artistically creative ways 

 

O Terezin

You place of sin

Of death and degradation

Holding place

For terror camps

For Jewish execution

“ The Final Solution

Of the Jewish Question”

Young and old

Side by side

Unaware of genocide

Children leapfrog

Bulldog

Hopscotch

Into fratricide

O Terezin

Fortress camp

Served as Jewish ghetto

Stipulating

Concentration

For mass extermination

Demonic torment

Brutal treatment

Dignity repressed

O Terezin

Your famine

Your death

Disease and excrement

The torture

And the nakedness

Overcrowding

Screams and cries

Squeezed like cattle

Sent to die

‘Sie wurden in den Transport eingereicht…’

Began the note

To those whose plight

Would be a one-way

Train to Auswitz

 

O Terezin

You living Hell

Your Machiavellian posturing

The charade the lies

The twisting of the knife

To cover the Evil of your ways

 

BUT YET

You could not

Obliterate

The spirit of your captives

Who snubbed their noses

At your evil and depravity

And broke out into song and dance..

As their last chance at freedom

And of life ….

With poignant levity

The people made their puppet shows

Their vaudeville

Their operas

Their concerts and their pantomimes

While poets uttered rhymes …

Most touchingly the children drew

Their chilling record

Of your crimes

Their gifted plays

Their satire of your ways

 

And in the end 

The Final Solution

Had its own

 Finale

O Terezin 

You could not win              

 

john nuttall May 2018

dad's last words

When mum died , my brother and I took turns to look after dad in the old family home .. he had dementia , and could not be left alone ..

In the ensuing 3 years I grew much closer to him than ever in my life,

And shared my Christian faith verbally with him ( … just the once !! ) 

 

Awake at 3 AM

In the small bedroom at dad’s

That used to be mine

40 years on and mum gone

 

Dad with dementia wandering around

Wondering where mum is but she’s not to be found

“Dora ?” he says, as he looks into her room

 

Thinks she’s on holiday but isn’t too sure

Even though he is the one who found her dead

Just two nights before

 

Splendid oblivion? Or nagging doubt

Seems not to know same every night

Why are my boys here?

It’s so good to see them though

 

Several days down the line the penny drops

“She’s not coming home is she son?”

“No dad she’s not”

 

“OK that’s it then , yes I see

Are arrangements made do you need me?”

“ A lot of it’s sorted, dad, but yes you could help”

 

After a week or two

I feel a deep prompt in my spirit at night

 

“Dad, you know when you come through the door

And mum’s not there

And it’s all sad and lonely hopeless and empty ?

 

Well there is a door and on the other side

Is joy and peace hope and fullness

Light and life “

 

“I suppose you’re talking about Jesus Christ ! ”

“ Yes, I am , dad “

 

So that was it job done

And I left it at that

 

In the three years following these events

We grew pretty close

When David and I went to see him at the ‘place’

He would ask us why we’d come

In his mind he was working away

The job nearly done he’d be home in day, or so

 

The carers told us

He was messing with radiators

Yes, he had been a plumber and central heating installer

He thought he was in ‘digs’

A strange word for bed-and-breakfast

The food wasn’t bad

And yes the job will soon be done

But how had we found him why did we come?

 

Deterioration set in

Things got worse

Taking his clothes off living the curse

“Ernie’s gone missing again !”

Couldn’t be found

Scabbed a lift off a passer-by

Who brought him back when he realised

 

My wife played him a CD of a Welsh male voice choir

"How great Thou Art" - touched his heart, made him cry

On his birthday,

Brought him some cards and some sweeties

Took him 5 minutes to open each card

but there was something of a distant remembrance in his eye

Now he never said a word

Lost in his thoughts

Whatever they were

 

“Dad , do you want a jelly baby”

 

“ Yes , son “ he said

 

His last words to me, as he lay back on his bed

 

I do hope he opened the door

 

© John nuttall