Poetry after Auschwitz, by Phil Vernon

This poem by our Treasurer, Phil Vernon, was awarded first prize in our members’ competition in 2019, and was published in Folio #73.

Poetry after Auschwitz
‘Poetry is pointless – like kicking a stone’ – overheard at a poetry reading

At the start and the end of this long, straight road:
a silent child, a house in flames,
a leafless tree, an empty town

He kicks a stone to watch it leap
and skitter on the flattened clay,
then slow and stall and go to ground

Along the forest edge stand those
he’s failed to save: he sings his song;
his unknown patrons hear no sound

and yet he feels their silence deep
beneath his feet, and sees beyond
the tree, the child, the house, the town

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