. . . in spite of everything I still believe
that people are really good at heart.
even when it does not.
A diary begins on the day
it is given and everything
just goes so fast
Breakfast dishes are left on the table
and a cat gets the only goodbye.
To be 13 when the world is
on fire and it is pouring rain
and your sister, 16, is summoned means
We shall disappear of our own
accord and not wait until they come
and fetch us.
before it's past.
Curtains fix the night inside
and books are brought and food
laid in and two attic windows
give onto a chestnut marking seasons
yet to turn around.
A man a woman a boy of 15
crowd life behind a door
behind a bookcase
made to move for a secret
prayed not to be found.
Each day just goes
till one spills a spat into another
weak and weaker moments filled
so fast and then the arguing
It's past so fast
between mother and daughter
family and family
husbands and wives
one more gets added
making danger as dangerous
for eight as for seven.
No one has a chance of evading them,
unless one goes into hiding. . . .
in an annex.
Autumn hands off to winter
a father keeps lessons going
a daughter writes
And soon enough it is a new year
1943 and every night
there is shooting and planes
and the sound of rats and, once,
a sack of cascading beans noise enough
to waken the dead.
in fine script.
A girl writes of Stories and
Events, a real book
of real moods and remarks and other things
entered in accounting books
to make the time pass. . . and the stillness
and the terrible fear
Because there is no way of
killing time until
in the attic.
Each day just goes
and it is 1944 so fast and a girl
and a boy breathe fresh air
and fall in love
while the chestnut stays bare.
in the space of want.
Change finds the possible
the chestnut goes green and
the sky so blue and
each day just goes so fast
the spell of a boy's eyes cannot
be broken until
One burglary becomes
another that becomes a third
and someone begins to suspect
something and Dutch nazis
search what Germans would betray.
And the cupboard is rattled not once
but twice before
the helpers arrive and a first
kiss between a boy of 17 and a girl
not yet 15
becomes the more thrilling moment
until it's past.
and then disappointment
In the annex
where each day just goes and
liberation is stuck waiting
for the Allies' march on the Prinsengracht
while dreams and cherished hopes
fall into line as a fairy tale ending's undone.
I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet,
if I look up into the heavens, I think
that it will all come right. . . .
until eleven days later
And the last entry is made.
August 4, 1944, after nine thirty
and before half past ten
German police queue up and Dutch
nazis and a truck
And what's left behind,
besides hands raised and
books scattered and time stilled,
are measures of heights — markers of
growth more than age — and papers
bearing the girl's fine penmanship and orders
to pulse the annex where
until it does not.
Copyright © 2010 Maureen E. Doallas. All Rights Reserved.
Italicized words come from entries in Anne Frank's diary, The Diary of a Young Girl, The Definitive Edition (Doubleday, 1991), in order, dated July 5, 1942; November 19, 1942; November 9, 1942; October 29, 1943; and July 15, 1944. The quote below the poem's title also is taken from the entry of July 15, 1944. Anne made her last diary entry on August 1, 1944.
The Germans hired the Puls company to strip and empty the homes of Jews who were arrested and deported, giving rise in Amsterdam to the phrase "pulsing" a house.
Their presence betrayed, Anne and her family and those who shared space in the Secret Annex at 263 Prinsengracht were arrested on August 4, 1944. On August 8, they were transported to Westerbork, a concentration camp, and on September 3 to Poland, to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Anne and her sister Margot were transferred in October 1944 to Bergen-Belsen, where both died in March 1945. Bergen-Belsen was liberated in April 1945. Anne's mother Edith Frank died in Auschwitz on January 6, 1945. Toward the end of January the Russians liberated the camp; Otto Frank survived his imprisonment there. Anne's friend Peter van Pels died in May 1945 in Mauthausen, three days before that camp was liberated; his mother died in the spring of 1945, in Therensienstadt; his father, a few weeks after arrival in Auschwitz, in September 1944. Fritz Pfeffer, the eighth person to hide in the Annex with the Franks and van Pels (he arrived in November 1942), died in Neuengamme in December 1944.
I wrote this poem for today's Blog Carnival and for Carry on Tuesday #43.
The Blog Carnival, a biweekly online event open to anyone, is sponsored by Bridget Chumbley at One Word at a Time and Peter Pollock at Rediscovering the Church. Today's one-word prompt or topic is "goodness". Go here for a list of links to all of the contributions.
The Blog Carnival's fan page on Facebook is here.
Carry on Tuesday provides each week as a writing prompt a quote that is to be used, wholly or partly, in original prose or poetry. The prompt for March 9 is from the Beatles' song Love You To: "Each day just goes so fast / I turn around — / it's past". Go here for a list of links to all of the participants' sites.