my birthday present

my birthday present
My awesome birthday present 1/26/11 (see story under my first post)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

33 words

I am in the middle of my 8th grade research project on the holocaust. It is always difficult, actually gut wrenching, to delve into this each year. It is mind boggling to think this happened in the 1940’s.  I came across this incredible poem last month.  The first time I read it, I got chills.

Examine what Dan Pagis was able to do with just 33 words. 

To understand this poem one needs little more than a basic knowledge of the Genesis story of Cain and Abel and the knowledge that Jews were taken by cattle car to the concentration camps.

What I find fascinating about this poem is that,  it is what’s left unsaid that makes this such a powerful piece.

written in pencil in the sealed railway car
here in this carload
I am eve
with abel my son
if you see my older son
cain son of adam
tell him that I

~Dan Pagis~

I am presently “reading” (actually listening to) the book Night by Elie Weisel, undoubtedly the most well known and prolific writer of all holocaust survivors. You  must read this book.
I looked up quotes by Weisel and found hundreds. Here is one of the better known, which I have laid on the page in the form of a poem.

The opposite of love is not hate
 it’s indifference
The opposite of art is not ugliness
 it’s indifference
The opposite of faith is not heresy
 it’s indifference
And the opposite of life is not death
 it’s indifference.
 ~ Elie Wiesel

He said this too about indifference. 

Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil. ~ Elie Wiesel

Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies. ~ Elie Wiesel


1 comment:

pkcyphert said...

Carol had this response and has permitted me to post it for the rest of you to read:

What a powerful poem! The poet knows how to engage us at the very end. The reflection I want to have with myself is: "When was I/am I Eve; Abel; Caine?" How do I address the plight of those who were on the railcar heading for the concentration camp? What part do I/have I played in the oppression of others?
Thanks for the opportunity to address and pray about all this.