André Gide (1869-1951).

gide

Advertisements

SIEGFRIED SASSOON

sassoon

 

On Passing The New Menin Gate
by Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)

 

Who will remember, passing through this Gate,
the unheroic dead who fed the guns?
Who shall absolve the foulness of their fate,-
Those doomed, conscripted, unvictorious ones?

Crudely renewed, the Salient holds its own.
Paid are its dim defenders by this pomp;
Paid, with a pile of peace-complacent stone,
The armies who endured that sullen swamp.

Here was the world’s worst wound. And here with pride
‘Their name liveth for ever’, the Gateway claims.
Was ever an immolation so belied
as these intolerably nameless names?
Well might the Dead who struggled in the slime
Rise and deride this sepulchre of crime.

 

menin

* The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is a war memorial in Ypres, Belgium, dedicated to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of World War I and whose graves are unknown.

LETTER TO MY SON

ilse

Letter To My Son

(Ilse Weber – 1903-1944).

My dear boy, three years ago today
You were sent into the world alone.
I still see you, at the station in Prague,
how you cry from the compartment, and hesitate.
You lean your brown head against me
and how you beg; let me stay with you!
That we let you go, seemed hard for you —
You were just eight, and small and delicate.
And as we left for home without you,
I felt, my heart would explode
and nevertheless I am happy that you’re not here.
The stranger who is taking you in
will surely go to Heaven.
I bless her with every breath I take —
Your love for her will not be enough.
It has become so murky around us here,
Everything has been taken away from us.
House, home, not even a corner of it left,
Not a piece of what we loved and prized.
Even the toy train which belonged to you
And your brother’s little rocking horse…
They did not even let us keep our names:
We walk through the streets marked like cattle:
With numbers around our necks. That would not be so bad,
If I were with your father in the same house!
Not even the little one may stay with me…
I was never so alone in my life.
You are still small, and you hardly can understand…
So many are pressed together in one room.
Body against body, you carry the suffering of the other,
And feel the full pain of your own loneliness.
My boy, are you healthy and learning your studies?
No one sings you to sleep now.
Sometimes in the night it seems
That I feel you next to me.
Just think, when we see each other again
We will not understand each other.
You’ve long ago forgotten your German in Sweden,
and I, I can’t speak Swedish at all.
Won’t that be strange? If only it already were,
then I’d suddenly have a grown son…
Do you still play with tin soldiers?
I am living in a real Barrack,
With dark walls and dreary rooms
There’s no sun, nor leaves and trees.
I’m a nurse here for the children
And it’s nice, to help and comfort them.
Sometimes I stay awake with them at night,
the little lamp doesn’t give much light,
I sit and guard their rest,
And to me every child is a little piece of “you”.
My thoughts then fly to you
and nevertheless, I am happy that you are not here.
And I would gladly suffer a thousand torments,
If I could pay for your childhood happiness that way…
It is late now and I want to sleep.
If I could only see you for a moment!
But I can do nothing except write letters,
Full of longing, never to be sent.

 

(Ilse Weber – 1903-1944)
Please check out more information at the post below:

https://beautybellezzabeaute.blog/2018/01/27/poetry-blogging-ilse-weber/

READING

garden

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis is considered the best of the series of novels that Bassani produced about the lives of Italian Jews in the northern Italian city of Ferrara. Although the novel focuses on the relationships between the major characters, the shadow of creeping fascism, especially the racial laws that restricted Jews’ participation in Italian society, looms over all the novel’s events. According to Bassani, one hundred and eighty-three Jews living in Ferrara were deported to German concentration camps in 1943.

MASTER AND MAN

tolstoy

 

“Before he died he asked his wife’s forgiveness and forgave her for the cooper.
He also took leave of his son and grandchildren, and died sincerely glad that
he was relieving his son and daughter-in-law of the burden of having to
feed him, and that he was now really passing from this life of which
he was weary into that other life which every year and every hour grew
clearer and more desirable to him. Whether he is better or worse off
there where he awoke after his death, whether he was disappointed or
found there what he expected, we shall all soon learn.”
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), “Master and Man”, 1895.

HITLER, MY NEIGHBOR

HITLER

 

It was 1929. The child peered out of his window in Munich and watched the future chancellor of Germany step out of a black automobile. Hitler glanced up and made eye contact with the boy. That was when the boy’s nanny, Rosie, slammed the window shut and made him go to bed.

More about the book HERE.