Friday, 31 January 2020

The Butterfly

A wonderful poem by Pavel Friedmann, which was read by a representative of Cornwall People First at the event marking Holocaust Memorial Day at Truro Cathedral last Monday (27 January 2020).
Friedmann, who was Jewish, was born in Prague.
He died on 29 September 1944 at Auschwitz concentration camp after being deported there from Theresienstadt, where he wrote this poem on 4 June 1942.

The Butterfly (English translation)

He was the last. Truly the last.
Such yellowness was bitter and blinding
Like the sun's tear shattered on stone.
That was his true colour.
And how easily he climbed, and how high,
Certainly, climbing, he wanted
To kiss the last of my world.

I have been here seven weeks,
Who loved me have found me,
Daisies call to me,
And the branches also of the white chestnut in the year.
But I haven't seen a butterfly here.
That last one was the last one.
There are no butterflies, here, in the ghetto.

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