Remnants – dVerse Poetics / WordPress Daily Prompt

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I remember
the flaking paint
the silvered wood
the empty chair memorial
in the silent square
the milling group
– hardly a crowd – silenced
I remember
the ghost memories, phantom scars
pressing, beseeching, begging, needing
I remember the darkness beyond those doors –
those doors that had witnessed
tragedies a thousand-fold
the cold-sweat terrors
the children torn from their parents’ grasp
I remember
in hindsight –
I remember

Kraków_Ghetto_and_Jewish_Deportation_Holocaust_Memorial,_May_2012

I thought I would try to write my entry today for both dVerse Poetics – where the theme is ‘doors’, thank you Lillian for hosting – and the WordPress Daily Prompt – where the theme is ‘Generation’. I hope I succeeded!

Both of the images are from the Krakow Ghetto, where I was fortunate to visit (if that’s the right word) a few years ago. The empty chair memorial is incredibly moving, for me in the lump in the throat kind of a way. The homes, the remnants, which are still inhabited, are dilapidated, and I can hardly imagine what the conditions must have been like during the ghetto’s existence. The picture at the top is of one of the houses, behind one of the few remaing parts of the ghetto wall. (I didn’t take these particular photos).

Anyway, if you want to read other writer’s offerings, or take part yourself in either or both of these writing prompts, please click the links above.

Under Pressure – Daily Prompt

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You could tell, just by looking at them that they were all of the same bloodline.Same open expression, same physique, same tilt of the head when listening with undivided attention. You could be forgiven for thinking that they weren’t quite human, really. Someone, somewhere, had possessed incredibly strong genes.

So, time passed and everyone knew what to expect of the Meyers. You’d met one, you’d met them all, so it was said. It almost became folklore, that saying.

But then, then The Tragedy happened. And then, then their individuality was revealed in all its, well, unique glory, despite the circumstances.

Mother was a rock. She was the one they all turned to, the one they leaned on, the one that remained calm in the face of unspeakable horror.

Father broke. He wouldn’t, or couldn’t stop telling everyone how horrible everything was, how they would never recover, how he couldn’t see a way back from the edge. In short, he just wouldn’t shut up.

Granny remained in her rocking chair, demanding tea and toast and a drop of sherry in the evening as if nothing had changed. To be fair, she was as deaf as a post and impervious, so for her, nothing had changed really.

The Children, normally squabbling over the slightest perceived wrong, united, held fast to and supported one another as if sensing that they were stronger together. As a unit, they kept away from Father, not wanting his instability to puncture their carefully crafted strength.

And Sister? Oh she was the sly, crafty one in all of this. Like Janus, she had two faces, the dutiful daughter to all intents and purposes when she was being watched. At nightfall, under cover of streets as mute and dark as the dead, she would slip out and take her chances with anyone that would give her the glad eye, young or old, man or woman. This was freedom and she feasted on it.

The Meyers? Each as individual as the flakes of snow settling on this iron earth. Don’t underestimate them. Especially Father. I don’t think he’s as cracked as he likes you to think.

Survival of the fittest, right?


Here’s my entry into the latest WordPress Daily Prompt – today’s word is Diverse. Please do check in here to read other entries – why not take part?

The image above is of an art installation in the Memory Void (one of the empty spaces in the Libeskind Buiding at the Berlin Jewish Museum). The installation was created by Menashe Kadishman and is called ‘Shalechet’ (Fallen Leaves). The steel faces (more than 10,000) are a memorial to the Shoah (Holocaust) and completely cover the ground. Visitors are asked to walk on the faces creating an eerie clanking sound.

Chaos Theory – Daily Prompt

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She wanted to be the kind of woman who left chaos in her wake. Lying in her bed at night, the broken spring burying itself into the small of her back unless she wound herself round it like a question mark, she counted all the ways in which that would never happen.

One. She was short and stocky – more likely to be solid and dependable than the willowy, angular and above all, tall creature she saw in the department store on a daily basis. True, she looked good enough in her simple, black shift dress, was always neat, always tidy. But, definitely not alluring.

Two. Her hair, no matter how much she wielded the curling irons, just wouldn’t stay in those Marcel waves her ‘ladies’ seemed to manage so effortlessly. Half an hour after she had stepped behind her counter with its sumptuous display of silk scarves and the waves would drop like loose change thrown at a beggar in the street. Plus, she was mousey. No woman who caused chaos, who left broken hearts in her wake, had mousey hair. If only she had a sleek, jet black bob.

Three. She had to work. Mother needed the money to feed the youngsters, now that Father was gone. Oh, the euphemism. She had told Miss Oliphant that her father had ‘gone’, just knowing that her manager, with her lower middle class mind, would assume she meant that Father had passed away. She wasn’t going to disabuse her of this. There was no way she was going to become shop-floor gossip, and share that he had run off with the bar girl from the Rose & Crown.

Four. Spectacles. No siren ever wore spectacles. On the odd occasion she was able to take the time and spare the money to go to the cinema, the heroine of her chosen film was always beautiful and, most importantly, spectacle free. She hated her myopia, hated that she had suffered in silence at school and been branded stupid.

No, there was no chance of leaving chaos in her wake – a disappointing eddy of grey, flotsam strewn foam maybe, but definitely not fireworks, no inferno, no suitor tearing at his chest in angst, calling out her name.

Since when did anyone called Gladys have that kind of effect on the world?

She sighed, twisted herself round the broken spring once more and closed her eyes.

‘Oh Gladys,’ he sighed, rolling the name round his mouth with a mixture of delight and despair. Ernest, the under-apprentice storeman picked at another spot erupting on his chin meditatively. When would she notice him? How could he attract her attention? How could the likes of him, buried in the store-room for most of the day, approach the unapproachable? She was clearly the kind of girl that broke hearts and left chaos in her wake. He imagined a string of suitors, dismissed here and there with hardly a thought on her part.

She was clearly out  of  his league.


I thought I would attempt taking part in the WordPress Daily Prompt. Today’s word is ‘chaos’. What do you think?

If you want to take part, pop over to the WordPress Daily Prompt page. I’m linking to CHAOS right here.