The Birches at Birkenau
‘Birkenau’ – the Birch Wood.
Gathered among the Beautiful Birches
outside Auschwitz – Birkenau
the Chosen People waited, hoping in vain.
Deliberately deceived, mothers, daughters,
Fathers, sons, frail, infirm, families, waited.
Deceived. Deceived in Life.
Deceived in Death. Delayed only.
The chambers and the ovens full.
No Exodus.
Still waiting, waiting for us.

Lost treasures, among the roots
a button, a gold ring, a child’s buckle, survive.
Carved in birchbark a plea – ‘remember’,
cries out for the lost tribe
this grove once mocked.
The birches and the memory still grow, pointedly,
heavenward, screaming at God.
Golgotha – place of skulls.
Birkenau – place of birches.
Even the trees were corrupted.

Anniversary of Liberation of Auschwitz


March 2005
Martin Swords