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wrought iron gates bear the vultures’ weight,
roost above the runic message–
beginning an end—

work makes free—

their guards swim in the River Lethe
sense no evil as they cram  innocents
into their machines
grinding them to death.
mouthless, silent statues
imitate life,
inhale the noxious odors,
brush the stinging ashes like dandruff from their shoulders.

while emptied beings
warped musselmen,
mark their serpentine passage
in the mud,
aimlesslessly dragged about,
mashed into dust.
hazy memories.

vultures persist
coddle the message–
linger with their young
untouched by ghosts
in their safe havens
where clocks tick endlessly
and the callow suckle at their breasts.

work makes free—

© Sy Roth 2013


A powerful, compelling piece on the Holocaust, todays featured poem comes from Sy Roth.

Full of brutal, dark imagery, this piece serves as a warning from the past, about the mechanism of evil and man’s part within it. Those familiar words that were etched over the gates of Auschwitz come back to haunt us in this piece, and makes us confront that part of our history (and, sadly, is still with us) which warns us against what we could be again if we ignore what has gone before. A harrowing poem, this one by Sy Roth is a vital addition to the world of poetry.

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