Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Butterfly

Today I watched the documentary "Paper Clips" about the middle school in Tennessee that collected paper clips in order to fully understand the largeness of a number like 6 million (which actually ended up being closer to 12 million)- the reason being that they could not imagine that number being applied to the mass genocide of the holocaust. It is a sincerely moving documentary, and I hope that you'll all watch it at some point. However, the most poignant moment in the film was a short quote that inspired me to find the poem it came from.

The quote was, "I never saw another butterfly"- it was a line written by a a survivor of the Teriz Jewish Ghetto (Inge Auerbacher). It is truly heartbreaking, especially in the context of the film, and I wanted to post the poem ("The Butterfly") here:

The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun's tears would sing
against a white stone.

Such, such a yellow

Is carried lightly way up high.
It went away I'm sure because it wished to
kiss the world good-bye.

For seven weeks I've lived in here,

Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.

Butterflies don't live here,
in the ghetto.


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