Thursday, July 10, 2008

K.K. has three performances tomorrow to mark the end of dance intensive and unfortunately she injured her ankle slightly at the end of practice today. I hope it holds up OK tomorrow. She seemed pretty worn out this evening, ready to just lie on the couch, not talkative. It's probably good that she will be down to just the jazz and Broadway twice a week classes she loves after tomorrow and won't have such long dance days. The making of an artist is hard work, as is the making of anything of value.

My knee, which had been hurting the last week or so is recovered enough that I'm joining Bob in night walks again and have been delighting in the waxing moon. It was setting as we walked at the beginning of the week, now is a full half, sliced straight down the middle as i with a sharp knife and hung big yellow above the holding pond as we walked tonight.

I've been reading a book about the Jewish experience in World War II, Suite Francaise - or trying to read it. I think it is excellently set up but I am avoiding. I know the author died in Auschwitz and I just seem to always find something else to do that read her one step closer to the death camp. My writers group had a prompt about writing about the experience of being in a big crowd and I wrote a poem that surprised me. World War II was a long time ago and there have been and are other genocides and lots of people who weren't Jews were killed by the Nazis and Jews have no special claim on suffering - and yet one's own ethnic and social history is one's own and mine haunts me in the oddest ways - unexpected. This is what I wrote.

Throng

Laughing in line. waiting to enter
political rally, waiting to give
joyful grand daughter glimpse
of her candidate - a woman
running hard for President.
Laughing in line on cold night,
warming hands in each other's
sleeves, kid bundled in three coats,
strangers friendly, bound by hope,
press of crowd encouraging,
even in our red state, so many
out to hear Hillary and cheer.
Press of crowd friendly until
smiling security guard at door
asks grand daughter to lift
her arms so he can feel for weapon,
a formality, but in my mind
we suddenly huddle terrified
in Warsaw, 1942, wearing all our
coats, wearing the yellow star. Jews
waiting to be packed into cattle cars.
Knees shake. Grand daughter laughs.
Moment passes. Happy political crowd
enters arena to cheer our candidate.

4 comments:

Ann said...

Victoria, I think history is in our very cells and can pop out when we least expect it or perhaps when most we need it. This is a chilling piece, but I'm glad you wrote it. Suite Francaise is a very difficult read, but I'm glad I read that too.

Peggy said...

I can understand not being in a place in your own life when you can deal with the horrors of your relatives from the past. You have got a lot going on that is sort of in flux in your own family right now and it perhaps leaves you more vulnerable to echoes from the past.
Suite Francaise was written by a Jewish woman who died in the death camp, but her book in my opinion was not about the Jewish experience in WWII. It was more about the civilian experience, specifically the French experience. The thing that i found haunting was that she wrote it without knowing what was ahead for her--or even that it was a possibility as I don't think the nature of the death camps was widely known then.
Save this book for a better time for you to read it!

Mary said...

Victoria, I am glad that your knee is doing better so that you are able to do night walks again.

Your poem is a very powerful one...taking the reader through so many emotions.

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