Time Traveler

I spent a day in the past today.

For me, history has always been fascinating. Allowing me to see the inventive ways people approached problems, the evolution in society’s thoughts, behaviors, beliefs, and giving me the chance to learn from mistakes made through the years. There have been plenty of those…

I always thought I would jump at the chance to time travel to the past, if only for a while, but you know what they say…’Careful what you wish for.’

Today we took my cousins to the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C. They had been learning about the subject in school the past year and were curious to know more about what happened. I remember my initial shock and confusion when I first discovered this devastating moment of time, but watching it register in the eyes of young girls was a completely different experience.

I think sometimes history tells us stories so that we can learn and grow as humans. Sometimes history recounts events that allow us to grow closer together as we recognize similarities and those universal traits we all share. And sometimes, history provides us with events so confusing, heart wrenching, and unbelievable that they make us pause. They make us think about our behavior towards one another. They make us consider what is really important in life. Some of us may only pause for a moment…some of us may carry the thoughts, lessons, or echoes of past voices with us for an especially hard day.  Others for the rest of their lives…

The following poem was a college writing assignment. We had to write a poem from the point of view of a famous person. Can you guess whose perspective I wrote from?

*

This place is not a home,

but a home it has to be.

A few rooms behind a bookshelf

on the stair,

where we live as ghosts.

*

We left everything behind,

our clothes, our books, our friends.

We left the old life quickly.

We brought only our silence.

Now we wait in these cramped quarters

for the day we can return.

*

While I wait, I dream.

I dream in red, and white

and black.

I dream in the twisted branches of the old chestnut out back.

How lucky is he,

stroked by the sun’s golden fingers,

shivering at the icy chill of raindrops down his trunk.

*

I spend hours at my cracked and tiny window

watching the ferries glide on glassy black water,

rusty bicycles rattle along the cracked and suffering pavement.

Starless shoulders fill the streets.

Ik kijk en wacht voor de vreiheid.*

*

Written Spring 2010

*I wait and watch for freedom.

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2 thoughts on “Time Traveler

    • You would guess correctly! I have always admired both her and her family’s courage and strength.

      As to your comment about my cousin’s reactions… They were both very quiet throughout the whole museum. Every now and again they would pose a question and fall quiet again as the answer hit them. I guess I didn’t, maybe couldn’t, have described their thoughts or the appalled looks they sometimes shared. As I said, they were very quiet. I think sometimes, even the best words can’t do something justice.

      Thank you for reading!

      Like

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