the architect envisions
    the site
    the purpose
sits at the table
    with pen and tools
            draws lines
            crafts letters
    sips coffee
    scratches his head
erases things
pauses to think
soon the plans are finished.

hot persistent terrible burning
suffocating relentless cruel shame
horrible anguished sleepless nights
the architect envisions
the dying agony of millions
which adorn this most historically important
architectural space

70 years later
we find the beautifully lettered blueprints
for Auschwitz.


I went to Auschwitz
    as a seer of sights
    as I walked
        my faith
            was shaking slipping
        as I witnessed the remains
            of carefully engineered cruelties.
    I entered
        with fear
        Block 11
            “The Block of Death”
        If you walk down the stairs
            there are cellars underneath
                less than 7 meters square
                where up to 38 prisoners
                    would be stuffed naked
                        to starve
                        to die
                        to be experimented upon.
        These are the darkest pits
        of one of history’s worst places.
    Years ago a person
        was shoved into one of these cellars
        who knows how long he was there
            before an idea occurred to him.
        Pushing his weak and trembling elbow
            into the naked bony sides
                of his companions,
            with a small stone
                or with his fingernail
            he etched into the hard wall
                in the darkness
                a picture of Christ
                    dying on the cross.
        I saw this canvas with my own eyes,
            and my mind received instruction:
            “I can do all things
                through Christ who strengthens me.”
        They could do every evil thing
            to this man
            but they could not conquer his faith.

I went to Auschwitz
    as a seer of sights
    a tourist to the spectacle of tragedy
and I saw
    a mound of eyeglasses
    I remember it as a mountain
and I saw searing like the sun
    that it was not
        nameless faceless millions
        who were murdered
    a person was murdered
        a person
            with vision
        a real person
The world still bleeds from the loss
We will never know what they saw.

Posted in Poetry and tagged .


  1. For those who don't know, I did actually visit Auschwitz about 25 years ago. It has haunted me ever since.

  2. Pingback: Grace in Practice: Government » Therefore Now

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