Left to Right, from top row:

Jack Powers

Marc Widershein, Ian Thal, Susie Davidson, Portia Brockway

Peter Desmond, Marc Goldfinger


Local Poets Hold Reading at Holocaust Memorial

by Susie Davidson

Advocate Correspondent

On Monday, April 30, several local poets gathered at the downtown

Holocaust Memorial to note both National Poetry Month and the month

of Yom Hashoah.  The event was made even more somber by the recent

tragic deaths of the four Newton children; services for Kayla

Rosenberg were occurring at the same moments.

Each poet related how the Holocaust had touched their

lives.  Julie Stone, Deb Priestly, Marc Widershein, Ian Thal and

others spoke of the relatives lost to the Holocaust, and how they

have coped with their losses. 

The following poems are selections

from this reading:

The Jewish Gravedigger, Lomazy, Poland 1942

Marc Goldfinger

The heat is oppressive on this day in Lomazy.

I dig this giant pit with others while my wife

and son wait, guarded by Germans on the

athletic field, where we once ran and

played. The Germans have brought

us all out and they stand and walk

about, posturing and posing for

photos. I know they mean to

kill us, but perhaps if I dig

this grave for my friends

and relatives they will

let me and my family

live. Perhaps if I dig

they won't kill us

all. I will pray

as I dig that

God will

not let





by Ian Thal

I never read the numbers on her arm.

So I ask if the ink of burning black

on skin of burning white could spell a word

in Hebrew that could have spared her and not

the others --?

               -- extinguished like ancient stars.

I wonder, standing under the glass towers;

Could the brutal tattoo gunner have known

what protective seal he might have needled?

Or: was survival a drawing of lots,

a slot machine, or a rolling of bones?

And which thought is the more dreadful reading?


The Crystal Lily

Marc Widershien

So many stark beautiful faces

gone into the worlds of light.

Man made art out of the materials:

rockweed, anemones, the herring gull

pink coral, the bark of a tree--

until the jackboot summoned you

to the kingdom of the night.

The child who saw the skeleton in the mirror

still haunts us with a question:

What have you done with my life?

A pond crystalled with lilies

or a swamp maddened by flesh

rotting into rags--it was here

that the madman found his destiny.

The child we were asks us,

What have you done with our lives?

Blackened sun against a full sky

of suns too numerous to count,

too radiant for our eyes--

Jerusalem, grieve a moment

a millenium, generations

of the Diaspora--grieve

then go on.



Doug Holder

Do I have a choice?

They changed the name

trading in the awkward scrawl

for the short, spare efficency--


is now on my back.

This Jew

still peeks through

my body stoops

as if to "daven"

a hint of Yiddish urchin twang--

the monkish bald spot

a Yarmulke

fits perfectly.

At dusk

I down the white bread--

secretly savor

the dark rye

and realize in

the dead of night

that the


doesn't lie.

published in 96inc...   Spare Change and Buckle (Buffalo, N.Y.)


6 Million Souls

Susie Davidson

6 Million Souls for the soul of us all,

we of the lucky born after the call.

What kind of black cloud arose at that time?

How could he sway others into his crime?

6 Million Souls for the soul of us all,

the darkest of ages, humanity's fall

Children and innocents slaughtered for what?

6 million visions and dreams hammered shut.

6 Million Souls for the soul of us all,

now etched in stone, fire, memorial hall.

Our own treasured nation ignoring the pain,

Eleanore Roosevelt trying in vain.

6 Million Souls for the soul of us all,

Frozen in bigotry, backs to the wall,

victims of genocide, subhuman plan,

centuries of ignorance, one vile man.

6 Million Souls for the soul of us all,

Survivors and progeny, rise and stand tall!

To make history's errors, all holocausts end

Together we stand and vow NEVER AGAIN.