Time is often the destroyer of a young man’s dreams.
Hope is frequently the only nourishment for an emaciated soul.
How did you endure an era so blatantly inhumane,
Where a child’s only crime is being born a Jew?

I think back to my own hardship as a “Lifer” in prison.
When dark thoughts ravenously clawed at my will.
Threatening to drag me into the depths of hopeless abandon,
As the elusive hope of freedom took on a mystical quality.

A Lucky Child spoke to me in ways never before.
Tears of mine followed your march on frostbitten feet.
Injecting into my spirit an Odd Nansen state of being,
I pray for the moral strength not to compromise my dignity.

You have shown that when a person is subjected to terrible suffering,
That experience should teach us how to empathize with all people in need.
With Mutti’s unrelenting hope and love, Mundek’s courageous sacrifice …
You reclaimed your name from the number you were given.


Dedicated to:
Mr. Thomas Buergenthal
Survivor of Auschwitz death camp,
And author of A Lucky Child


  1. CL,

    Beautiful poem! Your poem is honest and bares your heart to the readers. It was also a very interesting take that you made your poem like a letter to an impactful writer in your life. I also believe that you’ll be able to reclaim your name from the number you were given, everyone grows as a result of past experiences and don’t lose yourself to those dark thoughts/moments. Keep writing!

  2. CL,

    This poem is absolutely beautiful. One of the best things I’ve read in a while, and I’m currently working towards getting a degree in English. Please keep writing.


  3. cora broadhurst says

    Wow. This poem was very moving. I love that you dedicated the poem to the author of the book in which you were inspired by. Your poem has inspired me to read the Lucky Child. Thank you, and I wish you the best of luck.

  4. kassidilenae says


    Wow, thank you for sharing this. Your message is piercing. The last stanza especially spoke to me. I love how you relate the role of pain to help us empathize. What a blessing it is to be able to grieve with someone or relate to their injustice. It is our suffering that binds us and reminds us that we are not alone. Take heart!

    Keep writing!

  5. Dear CL,

    Thank you for sharing this poem– I think you communicated really well the way that experiences of oppression can link people together in solidarity and result in powerful coalitions of resistance. Though the first couple stanzas focus on the deprivation of imprisonment– the “emaciated soul” that comes from lack of food and communion with like-minded others– I liked that this poem builded powerfully towards a notion of greater wholeness by connecting with other people with the same experience. I also liked that you called the willingness to help and find solidarity an “Odd Nansen state of being” — the historical references, the dedication, and the history behind this poem make it even more powerful and illuminating as to how we can show our integrity by standing up for others. Thanks again for writing and sharing.


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