• Joanna Seldon

  • A Cancer Patient Visits Auschwitz

    So many ways of setting specific sorrow

        Against some monstrous tragedy.

    Look on this map of Europe, where a stain’s spreading

        Over its once safe towns and fields.

    Over the white seeps grey, and where plague is most foul

        Blackest lesions have inked the land:

              Dark blots of death.


    My body is a map when, on the screen, I see

        The grey and black seep steadily,

    Relentlessly, into the white regions, once safe

        And strong and healthy.  Long ago

    I watched my baby grow on such a screen.  I know

        We’re all formed both of good and bad

              Mashed, botched and ditched.


    Let us not be dazzled by the bright white acres;

        Let us not be blind to evil.

    It metastasised from Oslo to Salonika,

        Its black cells rotting Poland’s flesh.

    My little grief is tiny in comparison.  Just think:

        For each of us a railway line

               Stretches ahead


         And we must walk along it.  In the far distance

        Who knows what beast hunches, waiting.

        But my view of that ending point,

            Though growing darker,

                Is clearer

                  Than some.