Christina A. Sharik

ON THE LIBERATION OF DACHAU
And A Thought About Other POWs

What if? What if?
I do this to myself a lot.
What if I were a prisoner of war?
What if I were tortured or shot?
But I have been fortunate
That has not been my lot.

I used to wonder if I would hide
the Jews; if I would bring them inside
and take that chance
I like to think I’d be brave enough to
save a small child, so she’d someday dance
with giddy abandonment after the war –
Isn’t that what Freedom is really for?

When the flag flies high and flaps in a breeze
I like to think I might be one of these
who saved someone’s life, because simply, I should!
Not because I was righteous or good
but because it was the right thing to do
I like to think so; that I could save a few.

Armies entering concentration camps
were shocked and stunned, angered and more
at the atrocities, inhumanity, the cruelty of war
something they’d never seen before.
Well, that will never happen again, they said
as they blanketed living, and buried the dead.

There are prison camps now all over the world
torture, starvation, and mayhem reign
And the Jews have a saying: “Never Again”.
It just doesn’t work, that certain word “Never”
for there will be cruelty and Wars fought forever.
And where do we stand, and what do we say
to what is happening even today?

I wrote this poem. It didn’t help any
but I don’t know what to do for the many
who sit behind wire, and wait for release
whose eyes have a dark look that simply begs “please…”
Maybe I could have saved one of many
But I’ll never know – I didn’t know any

There may come a time when I can reach out
bring back one from the brink, when I hear a shout
The trick is to listen, to watch and to learn
and to plug up all chimneys, so no one will burn.
God’s Blessing upon you, the weak and oppressed
This poet is watching, and I will not rest.

Liberation of Dachau: 1945
Liberation of Dachau: 1945