A Holocaust Remembrance Poem for a Light-Hearted Family Meal


So we are having some non-Jewish friends over to share our Shabbat meal tonight, in our spirit of “Shabbat-Salon.” But it is also International Holocaust Remembrance Day. I was looking for a poem that could honor the Day, yet not in such a graphic way that it would cast a pall over an otherwise joyful dinner. I could not find one, of course, and realized the horror of even trying. So, in that spirit, I wrote my own poem about people who should never be forgotten, no matter how inconvenient the memory:

I Could Not Find a Pleasant Poem

I could not find a poem today
(he said) to use here, in our quiet home.
I could not find a gentle verse to say
what needed to be said –
what no one can say
in a pleasant way
about the unpleasant dead.
I could not find a courteous
and gentle verse
that would not drop the pall of curse
upon a pleasant night,
that we might mourn the millions dead,
yet keep them out of sight.

(C) William Melnyk, 1/27/2017


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