A Roll of Yellow Stars

Based on what was left behind – items at Yad Vashem (World Holocaust Remembrance Centre).

 

A Roll of Yellow Stars

 

A roll of yellow stars

ready to be cut out

 

A roll of yellow stars

ready to be cut out

 

verses, visions spill from

 

A roll of yellow stars

ready to be cut out

 

Take them –

wear them,

write them

speak them clear

for those carrying them nearer –

the girls, men, women, babies, boys carrying

word-object artefacts on their backs:

 

The letter hidden in a loaf of bread,

postcards sketched whilst hidden in France,

improvised grave stones, farewell letters,

regulation identity cards.

 

Cups for the ritual washing of hands

a marriage certificate from Theresienstadt,

Mordechai Shlain’s violin,

the names of women prisoners in Vapniarka camp.

 

A teddy called Misho,

a Rosh Hashana prayer book,

heart-shaped pendant from father to daughter,

a sign for the German Worker’s Front

 

reading ‘JUDENFREI’ – free of Jews.

 

An Auschwitz toothbrush,

pot from Oscar Schindler’s factory,

child’s shoe, ring, brooch, hairbrush, lipstick –

unclaimed at the Italian treasury.

 

Teeth,

 

tool for measuring the bridge of a nose,

 

pig/Jew ashtray moulded in bronze,

 

peep-hole in the crematorium door,

 

written-down songs.

 

 

When working in camp –

 

SONGS

 

 

and a roll of yellow stars

ready to be cut out

 

a roll of yellow stars

ready to be cut out

 

yellow stars

to cut out

 

we shall not cut them out

we shall not cut these words from our tongues

we shall write, speak, show

they will not be worn out.

 

A roll of yellow stars

 

roll of yellow stars

 

that roll of yellows stars

 

they will not be cut out.