27th January – by Richard Carpenter


The camera’s eye is open wide, the focus sharp
on an old, arthritic hand which holds a pendant
the size of Lily Ebert’s finger nail. Her face
and neck are hazy, but in a different picture

she wears the pendant round her neck,
a young left hand rests on nana’s shoulder:
both proud, and unafraid to show the love
that made Lily hold on to her mother’s gift;

to the dents from where her mother
hid it in her shoe. The same shoe that Lily
wore when her mother made her swap.
Did her mother know that Mengele’s hand

would come down with his stick to send her left,
three daughters right? Right where they saw smoke
rise from the ovens, smelt the acrid stench
of burning hair and flesh:            asked

What happened there?




Richard Carpenter retired from General practice nine years ago. He is a member of York Stanza. He was born on 27th January 1948 and so he has a yearly reminder of the evil, and horrors, of war.