Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Wertheim Park, Amsterdam

Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Wertheim Park, Amsterdam

Article excerpt

The woman rubbed her hands and stamped her feet.

We were gathered in winter in the Wertheim Park.

You forgot your gloves, I said in sympathy.

She gestured to her purse, and muttered work.

We'd come for the annual memorial march.

She stood in the shelter of an oak, her back to the stage,

apart from the crowds that filled the level park.

I wondered as I saw a man about her age

facing her, rocking heels, misting breath,

his quite large ears rimmed pink with cold.

Her hands began to move. I saw he was deaf.

She signed the things the Mayor and the Rabbi said.

Like frozen birds, her hands rose up and fell,

her black brows frowned and her face seemed to dance.

Her mouth made O's, as if too shocked to tell;

words flew through her eyes and fluttering hands.

I watched him watching her in mute oration.

His hands in pockets, his mind tracks in silence

back sixty-seven years, to liberation,

the buried history of his lost parents.

The Rabbi's prayers began: to remember them,

and all the numberless, nameless dead,

and all the known, too many to name,

so he sang a litany of camps instead. …

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