Memorial at Plaszow Concentration Camp, Krakow, Poland.

Adrienne Tinn

 

... was born in Ongar, Essex, but spent most of the first twenty years of her life in London. She has written short stories and poetry from a very early age and had many published in her school magazines.  During ther 27 years as a teacher she produced poetry and plays for pupils to perform.

 

She now lives in Lower Sheering with her photographer husband, Malcolm. Besides being Secretary of the Harlow Writers' Workshop she is also Secretary of two local bridge clubs, and plays bridge for Hertfordshire.

 

Adrienne has had work published in Ware Poetry Winners Anthology as well as in a variety of anthologies and magazines in the UK and overseas. She has presented her poetry at The Harlow Playhouse, and the Victoria Hall Theatre.

 

Some of her books of collected poems are featured in the 'Publications'  section of this website.

 

Coalbrookdale, Ironbridge  

                 

A metal man-made monster
Reflects an overcast sky
Straddling the giant gorge
Shadows delve into the depths
Of sluggish brown waters
Uninviting to the eye
The present scene is lit by brightly clad birds
Perched on the river bank
Learning of the past -
As did rich tourists centuries gone by

This is Coalbrookdale
Home to a revolution
Where dressed in their finery
The gentry came
Parasols aloft top hats on
To watch in amazement and awe
The new-made furnaces
Blast their fiery flames into the sky
Smelting the iron ore
The day turned into smoke of black and white
The night a sulphurous hell burning bright
Varied shades of purple and of red

Close to, unbearable stench
Impossible to stand
This Gehenna
 Home of the living dead
Where ashes fell to litter a once green land
This the place that forged the iron bridge
That changed the course of history
And altered people’s lives
From countryside to factory and mill
And back
And all the forges now are lying still

Plaszow  

Birds are singing over Plaszow now
There are no longer traces of the pain
Where once a camp was built
By prisoners whose hands were soft
Who shared no guilt
But that they all were Jews

Men women children
Herded together
Driven from their homes on foot
To Plaszow’s fields nearby
A barren place
An empty space
Slave labour easy prey

Forced to build barracks
Dig ditches erect fences
A prison camp
Concentration camp
Made to toil
Laying heavy metal lines
With blistered hands and bleeding hearts

To strike and dig
With picks and hammers
Shovels and spades
The stony quarry soil
To load the carts
And drag them back
Eyes lowered to the camp

Where Amon Goeth
Ruler of Plaszow
Shot at random all around
No warning shout
No uttered sound
A bullet here a bullet there
While whips like writhing serpents
Lashed the air
And hard-eyed guards
Screamed and cursed
And held their snarling dogs at bay
Sometimes

This was the pattern of their days

Then finally their turn at last
Packed away
In cattle cars
To Auschwitz or Belszec
Where ovens burned
And chimneys bellowed fatty smoke
That climbing high
Turned
The grey clouds yellow
Poisoning the air
And ashes borne upon the wind
Fell on villages nearby
Human detritus from the sky

Today birds are singing over Plaszow
Where once the camp had been
The sun glistens on remnants of rain
The sky is palest blue
A soft spring scene
White may blossom scents the air
Dandelion heads fill the fields
Where in the summer
Children run and lovers lie
Unthinking uncaring
And all around is green

A huge concrete monument
Stands at the crest of the hill
Russian raised
To the many dead
People with bowed heads
And clenched fists
The slash across the centre
A symbol of broken lives
Only a small plaque here
Mentions murdered Jews

From up high
Look across to the shops
A factory close by
Biedronke – the ladybird
But no ladybirds flew
In Plaszow Camp
And no birds sang

Plaszow, Nr Krazow, Poland

May 2016

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