haibun
A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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Archive: American Haibun & Haiga Volume 4

[Return to Author List, Vol 4]

Steve Sanfield

 

Looking Back on an Old Journey

In the autumn of 1988 I set out on a journey to Eastern Europe—Poland, the Ukraine, East Germany. Ostensibly it was to do background research for a book of stories I was writing about the Fools of Chelm, the legendary numskulls of the Jewish oral tradition. Though I had known these stories since childhood, I needed a landscape to place them in. I needed to learn about the trees and flowers, to experience sunrises and sunsets, to feel the rain, to walk in the mud.

Recently, while looking through my notebooks, I was surprised to discover that even though I filled scores of pages, I had written only a few poems during my months’ sojourn there. Why so few is evident from those that did get recorded.

Road Kill

these seven geese
never white than now
soaked in their own blood

Sunday at Auschwitz

high school students hurrying
to finish their ice cream
before entering the crematorium

Dawn at Maijdanek

all these crows
on the white gravel
betray the official silence

Pines at Sobibor

this memorial grove
still twisted and stunted
forty years later

Flashback at Belzec

twilight
a distant train whistle
true terror

[Return to Author List, Vol 4 ]

 


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