Posted tagged ‘connection between Grimm and grim poem’

Thinking about the Tales of the Brothers Grimm

April 24, 2015

Mound of Glasses at Auschwitz, property of Getty Images.


Thinking about the Tales of the Brothers Grimm
(through the lens of Spring 2015 Trial of Auschwitz Guard )

In even the simplest tales,
there’s always blood somewhere.
(One is not allowed
to photograph the hair.)
Bird-plucked eyes, a roll in nail-blasted barrel
(It’s not something you can truly compare.)
saved up for those craven or foolish.
(It did not matter how good you were,
if you were Jewish.)

The heroes adhere closely
to strange instructions
(We were only following orders)
given from some animal, crawling from earth, sea–
crawling even out of the sky–
(an ostensible reason: that reparations had starved
the country–a wheelbarrow
laden with currency not enough for a loaf of bread
by the time it was rolled
to the bakery–)

(Yes, yes, I knew, but I didn’t myself do–) 

Some live happily ever after.
(One complainant in the current Auschwitz case
lost 49 of her family members.)
An evil step cuts off her heel to make foot fit
and for a bit no one notices–
(Though many won’t even admit knowing)
–all the blood.


A draft poem for Ella’s prompt on With Real Toads about Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  I actually find Grimm’s Fairy Tales very interesting stories, but the originals are pretty grim, as is often noted.  When thinking about the stories,  I could not help also thinking about a war crimes trial going on right now in Germany of a man who was a former guard and bookkeeper at Auschwitz, charged as an accessory in 30,000 deaths, and a recent article that I read concerning those people who work as preservationists at Auschwitz.  (Apparently, one is not now allowed to take photos of the mounds of hair that were found at the camp on its liberation.  At that time, there were 7000 kg of hair, which was a small fraction of the hair actually collected.)   The preservationists have (in my view) a sacred, if very difficult, task.