Wednesday 28 January 2015

More than Enough

Last night's BBC News coverage of the 70th anniversary commemoration at Auschwitz was moving, despite rather than because of the best efforts of anchorman Huw 'Solid mahogany' Edwards and Fergal 'There will be tears' Keane. The images, and the words of the survivors and their families, were sufficient.
 As the Holocaust passes from living memory - and it won't be long now - so memory fades into Remembrance, with its tendency to ritualised sentimentality, easy attitudinising and airy platitudes. In the face of such horrors as the Shoah, plain words are surely best. Plain words precisely placed and weighted, as in this poem by Geoffrey Hill...

September Song

born 19.6.32—deported 24.9.42
Undesirable you may have been, untouchable   
you were not. Not forgotten   
or passed over at the proper time.

As estimated, you died. Things marched,   
sufficient, to that end.
Just so much Zyklon and leather, patented   
terror, so many routine cries.

(I have made
an elegy for myself it   
is true)

September fattens on vines. Roses   
flake from the wall. The smoke   
of harmless fires drifts to my eyes.

This is plenty. This is more than enough.

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