Sun Kissed Days

Sun Kissed Days

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Legacy


Tomorrow April 24, 2017 is Holocaust Remembrance Day as well as Armenian Genocide Day. I would like to share here poems that I had written for both. I am a child of a holocaust survivor and my husband is a grandchild of an Armenian genocide survivor. Our tapestry is woven by those that displayed a remarkable courageous spirit.



Numbers


Numbers tattooed
on my soul.
Lives snuffed out,
erased,
roots of humanity pulled out
like weeds,
so they would not grow,
or flourish,
so they would not survive.
Numbers tattooed,
like branded animals,
identities robbed,
discarded,
destroyed.
Voices silenced,
voices of philosophers,  
poets,
bakers,
doctors,
mothers,
fathers,
children.
The old woman sits with me,
she remembers and weeps.
she remembers walking into
an empty house for refuge,
  a photograph 
of a rabbi on the wall,
his blue eyes haunt her in her dreams. 
She remembers hunger,
cold,
despair.
Her grandparents murdered,
her uncle vanished,
her aunt dismembered.
She is a part of me,
a piece of my legacy.
Her eyes the same color as my 
beloved father's eyes.
 They held hands at the gates of hell
and survived.
I write down the stories
seared with pain
 of portraits of life
ripped apart,
families lost,
unspeakable horrors.
I write stories,
I witness,
as tears fall down,
we remember. 


This next poem I wrote to commemorate 100 years from the genocide. It is dedicated to my husband and his beloved grandfather.


Armenian Genocide -100 Years


Coal black sky,
awakens repressed memories.
Whispers of angels silenced.
You are not forgotten,
the moon watched 
while humanity looked away,
one hundred years of denial.
Grandpa,
I stood beside you as a boy,
and as a man I carry you in my heart.
Your kind but dark eyes,
pieced my consciousness with
stories of your plight,
living in a cave,
marching in the desert,
eating weeds and plants.
You were a baby boy orphaned,
grief held your hand.
You were too young to remember
your mother's love
your mother's embrace.
The emptiness,
and the sadness lingered.
The oppressors sought to destroy,
they sought deportation,
humiliation,
death.
The oppressors wished
to erase you
and our bloodline.
One hundred years of denial,
echo like whispers,
reverberate from the earth
of those that perished.
You survived
to flourish
you survived 
to tell your story
the darkness always in the shadows
 of each day.
Grandpa,
I remember.
Grandpa,
your words are not forgotten,
I retell my children of those dark days,
of their legacy,
of survival rich with
honor of your life.
Grandpa,
I stood beside you as a child,
as a man I carry you in my heart.
 
 

Remember And Change


Dad,
I don't want to write about spring,
flowers blooming,
touching my skin,
making my spirits rejoice.
Dad,
I don't wish to write about egrets 
flying into my yard,
celebrating glorious blue skies.
Dad,
I want to write about hunger and pain,
about a dark time,
when the sun did not shine for you 
and for others.
A time when your belly was empty
and your eyes witnessed 
horrors that remained with you
till the day you died.
I don't want to be gentle or soft,
I want to awaken souls.
I want the world to remember,
humanity at it's worst.
I want them to know
 that you did not
let it define you.
You were a survivor,
a champion,
that fought for other people's rights .
Your heart open and your mind
filled with dreams.
You wrote beautiful words,
soaring above the pain and horror.
Dad,
I want them to remember ,
the people that perished,
the people that did not
get to go home and build
a new life,
in a new land
I want the world to remember.
 



31 comments:

  1. Ayala, your first poem caught me in the heart. I have read so much about the Holocaust. The stories are of incredible courage and endurance in the face of unimaginable suffering. Great humanity was shown in the camps. "They held hands at the gates of hell and survived." What a victory. And a miracle.

    In the second poem, I cant begin to imagine the pain of a small orphan in the middle of such hell. "The moon watched while humanity looked away." And it is still happening all over the world. I can see your husband, carrying his beloved grandfather in his heart.

    In the third, I echo your words - "I want the world to remember." We must never forget. We must not be silent when such things happen today - or the threat of them beckons. I love "I want to awaken souls." You have written three wonderful and inspiring poems, Ayala. Thank you for keeping these stories alive.

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    1. Thank you Sherry for your thoughtful comment and for always extending your support.

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  2. “We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies.” ~Shirley Abbott
    Your poems are lovely. We must never forget.

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  3. Very true, can't forget so as to never repeat the past and keep all those in mind as we strive ahead.

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  4. Thank you for these powerful poems, Ayala. I like the line "I want the world to remember." I do too. I hope we do not make the mistake of the past. To think that both you and your husband were so connected to these horrific times - you must feel the horror of today's possibilities very strongly!

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    1. Thank you, Mary. These days are fragile and worrisome.

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  5. I too, want the world to remember, to never forget what we are capable of,

    Elizabeth

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  6. Powerful pieces. Written with a poignancy that could only be expressed, so impactfully, by someone who has felt the reverberations of these atrocities - through their loved ones.

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  7. These struck me very hard. I grew up on the opposite side of this. A mother who would turn in her own father to the Nazis.

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  8. Great power writing Ayala.. and yes the world needs your words so they can remember the atrocities, the survivors, the pain, the loss and how easily we can slip back to that dark place again, if we let ourselves fall.

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  9. I agree - these poems are so powerful

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  10. Powerful words indeed Ayala.
    We must remember and learn from our past, but we don't, for it is so much easier to look away, turn our backs as we focus on the little things in life, things that don't really matter...
    Anna

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  11. Yes Ayala, may we never forget and I pray we never repeat. My heart goes out to you, your family, all the dead and survivors of those times. Your writing is a powerful mark on something horrific in the history of humanity.

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  12. Beautiful beautiful Ayala you have once again touched my heart. You're way of making the words come alive with emotion and visions. We will never forget the Jewish holocaust and we must make others remember the Armenian genocide.

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  13. The whispers of angels are silent no more...you have brought them to life with these words you have written....we hear them again, singing truth and the beauty of the resilience of the human spirit.

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    1. Thank you or this thoughtful comment!

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  14. What collective power in this poetry. Sending love. xo

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  15. Strong and moving poems. Excellent.

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  16. so powerful, deep, captivating. You write from your soul Ayala, your compassion for all is bigger than the universe and your poetry says that to me. Thank you so much reaching the pain in my heart for all who have suffered and the joy that is there from all who have survived and went on. Blessings to you and your family :)

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