Poetry Friday: The Butterfly by Pavel Friedman

The reason I chose this poem is because this past Sunday, I went to the Holocaust Museum with my family.  My daughter loves butterflies, or as she calls them “boo-flies”, so I was immediately drawn to all the butterflies they had on display and for sale.  My daughter of course loved them all, too.  Then, in a small corner of the book case, I saw a little frame with this poem.  It touched me so much as I reflected on this young boy in a concentration camp.  I hope you enjoy the poem and may you also reflect on those who died.

The Butterfly / Pavel Friedman

The Butterfly / Pavel Friedman. Artwork: Liz Elsby

The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone. . . .

Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ‘way up high.
It went away I’m sure because it wished to
kiss the world good-bye.

For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here,
in the ghetto.

Pavel Friedman: Friedman was a young poet, who lived in the Theresienstadt Ghetto. Little is know of the author, but he is presumed to have been 17 years old when he wrote “The Butterfly”. It was found amongst a hidden cache of children’s work recovered at the end of the Second World War. He was eventually deported to Auschwitz where he died on September 29, 1944.

**If you would like your poem to be featured on Poetry Friday, please send me an email at:  booksintheburbs(at)gmail(d0t)com.

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