Circa 1976: The End Of Their Story Is Not Yet

Not much is left of their love
as remembered by those who knew them;
except most of those who knew them
are, also, dead; and the few that remain---dying.
Nothing is left of their beauty, either---
seared to ash in the ovens of the Third Reich.
Some said their hair was a little too long;
their gestures and voices a little too effeminate;
their friendship a little too intense!
They had been expected to love someones' daughters;
and instead they loved each other;
and their souls enjoyed immediate intimacy
through the delicate tactilities of flesh,
and the ardent gazes that confirmed each other in love.
Ancient poets, of whom they had read
(in expurgated editions at University)
had celebrated, a long time ago, the love they felt,
despite societal restrictions on open expressions.
One pleasant morning, in September;
a bright sunny morning; they loved each other---
two sensual, naked, young men beneath
silk sheets on a comfortably large brass brass bed---

totally unaware that Poland was being violated.
Later, exhausted by exquisite surges of pleasure,
and drowsy (having stayed up all the previous night),
they did not yet know that the goosestepping Wehrmacht
had crossed the Polish frontier---not to visit, but to stay.
The lovers never imagined their ultimate fate---
the repeated torture of both of them, and many others;
the slow starvation into skeletons, of which only
their furtive eyes could still express the lovers' gaze;
and the finality of exposure to Zyklon, the gas of choice---
the conquerors', the destroyers', the executioners' choice---
at Triblenka, north of Warsaw, a Vernichttungslager;
only their ashes finding release . . . from the smokestacks,
and borne away somewhere by the howling wind.



I shall launch this poem, soon, into cyberspace;
where it---so some have told me---will always exist
in some server somewhere; not as much to bear witness
to the inhumane extermination (though that is important),
but to bear testimony of their devoted, monogamous love.



Author's Notes/Comments: 

I apologize for the typos and grammatical errors in the first draft.  I believe I have corrected them all.

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patriciajj's picture

A vivid and explosively sad

A vivid and explosively sad account of a love too beautiful for this world. You bear witness to this devotion, in elegant style, as the wall of evil closed in around them. The detail of the ashes in the howling wind was particularly shattering—there's a sense of release against a background of horror, but also a legacy of love, misunderstood, but invincible in its truth. 


Unsparing and beautifully orchestrated. 

Starward's picture

I just found some typos and

I just found some typos and grammatical errors which, in my messed up condition yesterday, I forgot to correct.  I apologize that you had to read it in this uncorrected form.  I will fix them immediately.


Starward's picture

Thank you.  I was not sure if

Thank you.  I was not sure if I had handled the poem adequately---the general idea of it has been in my mind since, believe it or not, January of 1975, when I wrote my second research paper (that is, the second one that had to be footnoted, bibliographed, etc, for AP History class) on Nazi Germany.  Your approval of this poem means more to me than this inadequate response can convey.