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Best Famous Holocaust Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Holocaust poems. This is a select list of the best famous Holocaust poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Holocaust poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of holocaust poems.

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See also: Best Member Poems

by Kathleen Raine | |

Paradise Seed

 Where is the seed 
Of the tree felled, 
Of the forest burned, 
Or living root 
Under ash and cinders? 
From woven bud 
What last leaf strives 
Into life, last 
Shrivelled flower?
Is fruit of our harvest,
Our long labour
Dust to the core?
To what far, fair land 
Borne on the wind 
What winged seed 
Or spark of fire 
From holocaust 
To kindle a star?


by Yehuda Amichai | |

Tourists

 Visits of condolence is all we get from them.
They squat at the Holocaust Memorial, They put on grave faces at the Wailing Wall And they laugh behind heavy curtains In their hotels.
They have their pictures taken Together with our famous dead At Rachel's Tomb and Herzl's Tomb And on Ammunition Hill.
They weep over our sweet boys And lust after our tough girls And hang up their underwear To dry quickly In cool, blue bathrooms.
Once I sat on the steps by agate at David's Tower, I placed my two heavy baskets at my side.
A group of tourists was standing around their guide and I became their target marker.
"You see that man with the baskets? Just right of his head there's an arch from the Roman period.
Just right of his head.
" "But he's moving, he's moving!" I said to myself: redemption will come only if their guide tells them, "You see that arch from the Roman period? It's not important: but next to it, left and down a bit, there sits a man who's bought fruit and vegetables for his family.
"


by Carolyn Forche | |

The Testimony Of Light

 Our life is a fire dampened, or a fire shut up in stone.
--Jacob Boehme, De Incarnatione Verbi Outside everything visible and invisible a blazing maple.
Daybreak: a seam at the curve of the world.
The trousered legs of the women shimmered.
They held their arms in front of them like ghosts.
The coal bones of the house clinked in a kimono of smoke.
An attention hovered over the dream where the world had been.
For if Hiroshima in the morning, after the bomb has fallen, is like a dream, one must ask whose dream it is.
{1} Must understand how not to speak would carry it with us.
With bones put into rice bowls.
While the baby crawled over its dead mother seeking milk.
Muga-muchu {2}: without self, without center.
Thrown up in the sky by a wind.
The way back is lost, the one obsession.
The worst is over.
The worst is yet to come.
1--.
.
.
is the question asked by Peter Schwenger in Letter Bomb.
Nuclear Holocaust and the Exploding Word.
2--.
.
.
is from Robert Jay Lifton's Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima.


More great poems below...

by Charlotte Bronte | |

Passion

 SOME have won a wild delight,
By daring wilder sorrow;
Could I gain thy love to-night,
I'd hazard death to-morrow.
Could the battle-struggle earn One kind glance from thine eye, How this withering heart would burn, The heady fight to try ! Welcome nights of broken sleep, And days of carnage cold, Could I deem that thou wouldst weep To hear my perils told.
Tell me, if with wandering bands I roam full far away, Wilt thou, to those distant lands, In spirit ever stray ? Wild, long, a trumpet sounds afar; Bid me­bid me go Where Seik and Briton meet in war, On Indian Sutlej's flow.
Blood has dyed the Sutlej's waves With scarlet stain, I know; Indus' borders yawn with graves, Yet, command me go ! Though rank and high the holocaust Of nations, steams to heaven, Glad I'd join the death-doomed host, Were but the mandate given.
Passion's strength should nerve my arm, Its ardour stir my life, Till human force to that dread charm Should yield and sink in wild alarm, Like trees to tempest-strife.
If, hot from war, I seek thy love, Darest thou turn aside ? Darest thou, then, my fire reprove, By scorn, and maddening pride ? No­my will shall yet control Thy will, so high and free, And love shall tame that haughty soul­ Yes­tenderest love for me.
I'll read my triumph in thine eyes, Behold, and prove the change; Then leave, perchance, my noble prize, Once more in arms to range.
I'd die when all the foam is up, The bright wine sparkling high; Nor wait till in the exhausted cup Life's dull dregs only lie.
Then Love thus crowned with sweet reward, Hope blest with fulness large, I'd mount the saddle, draw the sword, And perish in the charge!


by Sylvia Plath | |

Marys Song

 The Sunday lamb cracks in its fat.
The fat Sacrifices its opacity.
.
.
.
A window, holy gold.
The fire makes it precious, The same fire Melting the tallow heretics, Ousting the Jews.
Their thick palls float Over the cicatrix of Poland, burnt-out Germany.
They do not die.
Grey birds obsess my heart, Mouth-ash, ash of eye.
They settle.
On the high Precipice That emptied one man into space The ovens glowed like heavens, incandescent.
It is a heart, This holocaust I walk in, O golden child the world will kill and eat.


by Rudyard Kipling | |

A Recantation

 1917

(To Lyde of the Music Halls)


What boots it on the Gods to call?
 Since, answered or unheard,
We perish with the Gods and all
 Things made--except the Word.
Ere certain Fate had touched a heart By fifty years made cold, I judged thee, Lyde, and thy art O'erblown and over-bold.
But he--but he, of whom bereft I suffer vacant days-- He on his shield not meanly left He cherished all thy lays.
Witness the magic coffer stocked With convoluted runes Wherein thy very voice was locked And linked to circling tunes.
Witness thy portrait, smoke-defiled, That decked his shelter-place.
Life seemed more present, wrote the child, Beneath thy well-known face.
And when the grudging days restored Him for a breath to home, He, with fresh crowds of youth, adored Thee making mirth in Rome.
Therefore, I humble, join the hosts, Loyal and loud, who bow To thee as Queen of Song--and ghosts, For I remember how Never more rampant rose the Hall At thy audacious line Than when the news came in from Gaul Thy son had--followed mine.
But thou didst hide it in thy breast And, capering, took the brunt Of blaze and blare, and launched the jest That swept next week the front.
Singer to children! Ours possessed Sleep before noon--but thee, Wakeful each midnight for the rest, No holocaust shall free! Yet they who use the Word assigned, To hearten and make whole, Not less than Gods have served mankind, Though vultures rend their soul.