General Antisemitism

Poem by a CiF Watch reader: ‘Song for a day of judgement’.


A guest post by CiF Watch reader Leonard Pailet

Approximately 2006-2007, I began a response to close readings of academic, political and journalistic “counter-narratives” to what was actually happening in the world with regard to Israel. One response was a series of “tropes” intended as precursors for modern tragedies.

The poem below came from the second grouping as a lyric interlude amongst the tropes.

I take Shoah as emblematic of Jewish history; the theme recurs although the individual incidents change and the percentage of the nation that is killed off is greater or lesser depending on the individual circumstances.

I chose the lullaby form because it is the typical “there, there, things will be get better” genre and I included the child’s response to the sympathy and to the horror that provokes it. 

There is an innocence to most ethical people; they do not understand why evil exists and, consequently, they do not necessarily have the skills to cope with the evil practiced against them. This innocence keeps them ethical and at the same time kills them off.

The poem is a statement of this dilemma and, since writing it, I have been exploring ways in which we can face evil for what it is and remain ethical. And the most important point, I think, is to be honest, especially if honesty hurts.

If people hate you, there can be no hasbara, no facts to refute. All you can do is keep the facts alive by staying alive and sometimes you reach the most unlikely people and make them realize that truth has no meaning for people who think they know better than anyone else.

They will come for you

And where would you go,

Child, dear child?

“Where shadows grow.

“Where shadows know

And throats eat screams,

That’s where I’ll go

And dream my dreams.”

They’ll find you there

Under your bed,

Child, dear child,

And you’ll be dead.

“If I am dead,

Who’ll care to know

Why they took me

And where I shall go?

“And you who warn me,

Then step aside

For them who take me;

When I have died

“O do not mourn me

Nor shed a tear.

Who don’t exist

Have nothing to fear.”

4 replies »

  1. “Where shadows grow.

    “Where shadows know

    And throats eat screams,

    That’s where I’ll go

    And dream my dreams.”

    Haunting imagery