Shoah and Tell
Down streets too clean
for challah, kreplach or sauerbraten,
a man must go lightly towards his fate.
Under the moon and lamplit rooves and spires,
while rat meets cat beside middens, pails
and műlltonnen, where then meets now,
just this side of memory,
Kurt or Bernd or even Siegried flicks a butt
– a red firefly landing in a muddy puddle.
The tocsin rings the new day in,
church-bells toll the curfew’s beginning.
A crystal smash of windows
told innocents it was time
and time again
that such things happened.
People spill out of the Ratskeller;
rats scurry back to alleys,
allies of the sinister cats,
familiars to the jackbooted warlocks
casting runes in gothic script,
and spells over Lumpenvolk.
“Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fűhrer,
Ein Ei dottereich und Rűhrer!”
The little Corporal wore his motley
as pied as any piper’s:
we listened to the thrilling tune
leading Jűden to their doom.