Wednesday 9 January 2019

Clockmender Oscar Rosen and his wife Rachel on Convoy 62, November 1943

What did you think,

as you and Rachel

sat on the floor of the cattle truck

as it left Paris?

Did you think of the watches

and clocks you had mended ?

Did you think of the tiny springs

and wheels?

You with your magnifying glass

in your eye poring over the works

so that a Monsieur or a Madame

could tell the time,

correct to the exact second?

Did you think of the smell of the sea

and the push of a boat against

the waves?

How you and Rachel

would stand on the deck

the wind in your faces

as you sailed away?

Did you look

through the gaps in the slats

on the side of the truck?

Did you see farmers in fields?

Women selling clothes in a market?

Did you call out?

Did you push your hands through the gaps?

Did the night come creeping in?

Did you see a light from a window

where people sat and

ate their evening meal?

Did you see in the dark

horror on Rachel's face?

Did she see horror on yours?

Did you shut her eyes?

Did she shut yours?

Thinking of children

who shut their eyes to make

the world go away?

And then

behind your eyelids

did you think of the cattle

that had once stood in the truck

as they were taken away

to the slaughter-house?