When was your immortal deed set and sealed?
Or, could it have been a childish dream
That came as a sinister message
Into your London loneliness?
A lady, heavily veiled and weary
Came softly and knocked on your door-
“I come from the burning earth, the Warsaw Ghetto,
My clothes torn, my eyebrows singed and my lips bloodied.”
She then remained a faithful partner
For the rest of your orphaned days,
Standing at the head of your bed
And pointing to the only way.
You pounded on many closed doors and many closed hearts,
Crying to patrons and hosts,
“It’s a shame, a disgrace to call yourselves human
and not one hand is raised to save them.”
Pulling stacks of paper out of portfolios
With digits multiplied through death,
And the greater the figures, the lesser the numbers
Of those mired in the dust.
The gentlemen smiled, civil and polite,
“We want to believe you, you may be right,
But, bring us the proof,
We are the slaves of the law, after all.”
“If these figures be wrong, gentlemen,
then my life and faith are wrong as well,
those long lists are initialed with my blood,
let my death prove the truth.”
You wrote the letter with a calm and steady hand,
For the early dawn to read and then-
A single shot echoed to erase
The shame and disgrace of a generation
And, with your own blood and death
As the final salutation
For those who were waiting in vain.