A Lesson Never Learned – A Poem

This poem first appeared on Curensea after being written in 2007. I have made a few minor edits.

I chose this poem based on many thoughts coming up for me over my lifetime while living in the United States. I grew up in Virginia and found it strange that I could live next to a Holocaust survivor and then move to a town with an active KKK chapter other kids at the elementary school nonchalantly talked to me about their parents being members of. My parents explained what that meant when I asked. Same with the Neo-nazi rallies in Yorktown, Virginia – you know, that place where we apparently “won the Revolutionary War”. What’s so revolutionary about it anymore now that you allow those kinds of rallies there? But Virginia did. My parents felt powerless against it because the courts ruled in their favor on the grounds of Freedom Of Speech and Freedom Of Assembly and that was used to argue for social tolerance of intolerance. Now, here we are, being asked to tolerate violence against each other as that too becomes normalized.

A statue face from St. Mary’s cemetery Missoula, MT, photo by Lo Potter

A Lesson Never Learned

It came up through the floorboards,
Zyklon B reaching forward through time
Ripping at our throats,
Forming itself around our nostrils
condensing into blue ice, after being trapped in the cold
of existence.
This depressive state of humanity
Seeming only to slumber in its death
Released the gas upon itself,
Using the world as its chamber
Many can claim their innocence
-besides-
Innocence through ignorance is the best kind
While dictators commence genocidal rampages
Using ill-earned power to rape a people
destroy their very creation of a God,
And yet, for those who are suffering:

The strongest woman I (n)ever met
sat crying at the grand opening of the Holocaust Museum
She surveyed the surrounding young people
Generations too young to remember or know what
She Survived
Walking through in awe of their own misunderstandings
She looked back without a single failed memory
Her arm exposed so everyone could see:
the vining rose tattoo that grew
out of the numbers that changed her life forever


Thank you for reading this poem today. The comments section is reserved for your thoughts. Moderating is only for preventing spam/trolls – I approve as quickly as possible and approval is only needed once to post without moderation on this website.

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