Poetry by Morristown High School Students

Morristown High School

Morristown, New Jersey
Creative Writing Elective
Jennifer Furphey, Teacher


Read the 2020 Holocaust Workshop Student Poetry:

Kehilat Shalom, Belle Meade, New Jersey
• Maarif School USA, Bloomfield, New Jersey
• St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Edison, New Jersey
Temple Beth-El, Hillsborough, New Jersey

Lost Among the Pages

Carigan McGuinn
Age 16, Grade 11

 

Dedicated to Peter Fischl on Discovering the Photograph of the “Little Polish Boy,” (Life Magazine, March 1960)

Flimsy thin sheets of paper
bound together in a small packet
pages filled with pictures and carelessly written words,
models, advertisements, gossip and speculation
smiling
yet on one page lies a haunting image
that speaks of pain and suffering
a little boy, lips parted in shock
fear in his eyes
marked with a star
branded as the enemy, labeled to be hated
his hands tremble, held high in surrender
and next to the camera stand men filled with anger
their guns give them power
and those they blame must obey
and the boy stands right there
fear in his eyes
on the page of a magazine

Most passer byes would easily miss
as their fingers flip through the pages
shuffling through for entertainment

If they saw this Jewish boy,
fear in his eyes
would they care to learn his story?
Or would they know,
they could simply turn a page
ignore this horror
and go on about their day
filled with ignorant bliss

But I can’t move from this page
the picture of this Jewish boy
fear in his eyes, marked with a star
stays in my mind
and I won’t forget him.

Little Polish Hat

Molly Sibona
Grade 12  Age 17

It started to get cold

So I covered the little Polish boy’s head.
I protected him
I thought I protected
The young hair on his young head

as they took him away
I blew away with the wind

as they took him away
I fell to the ghetto ground
there was no one else around

I didn’t see the little Polish boy again
there was no one I could protect
from the rain
the snow that wasn’t really snow
the fire

The Woman in Black

Madeline Beavis
Grade 11 Age 17

We walked, we stumbled, we walked
Except for the small Polish boy.

He stood as still as a tree,
Planting his worn shoes into the ground.
His eyes were full of loss… fear… worry,
As his small, delicate hands lifted into the air.

We walked, we stumbled, we walked
Except for the small Polish boy.

The gold star on his chest gleamed proudly,
Never to be tainted by the dirt of the ghetto.
His faith shines more brightly than the sun,

We walked, we stumbled, we walked
Except for the small Polish boy.

But calculating military eyes meet his
And guns shift in the hard palms of the uniformed
Whispers rushed through the cold air
everyone noticed the little boy.

How could he be so brave?
Where does he find the courage to stop?
The rest of us continued, leaving him behind.

We walked, we stumbled, we walked
Except for the small Polish boy.

Weapon of War

Dalia Elkady
Grade 10, Age 16


O’ Nazi soldier
steel eyes watching
cold hands gripping that weapon of war

O’ Nazi soldier
are we not the same?
two legs, two eyes, one heart
Yet my life is decided by you

O’ Nazi soldier
my appearance does not define me
lower your weapon of war
fate will bleed through

O’ Nazi soldier
try with all my might
I cannot hide
from this unforgiving moonlight
bearing scars like prayer

O’ Nazi soldier
steel eyes watching
cold hands firing that weapon of war.

To the Little Polish Boy from Behind

Natalie Rosenthal
Grade 9 Age 15

I am not able to save him
But I can remember him
I watch, standing in the shadows behind
I tell myself, I must go on
But I always come back to him
I will never see him in person again
But I feel him everyday
I keep going for him
If only I could share it with him
If only I could bring him with me
If only I could make it better for him
but I can’t.

My View of the Little Polish Boy

Charlotte Nunn
Grade 12  Age 17

I am sorry about what happened to you
I wish everyone viewed you
the way I view you

A little boy
who is pleading for his life
praying to survive

A boy who should be smiling
not holding his hands up
running around on the streets
not having a gun pointed at him

Your face speaks
it tells what you fear
what the unknown is

Your face not only shows fear
but it shows bravery
That’s what people
should see
the bravery.

To the Soldier

Erin Young
Grade 11 Age 17

I could never understand you
holding your cowardice tightly
as the gun in your hand.

Standing in a position of power
but, it is false
because you follow a false man,
choosing his hate over anything

Pointing the gun at the ground,
Maybe you know you are wrong
But still, who will stop you?

If I were there, what could I do?
With your gun in my hand,
Would I shoot you?
How could that give me
what you do not have?

Your victims stand in fear but
You are still the only coward

To the Woman that Looked Backed

Clayton Emge
Grade 11 Age 16

Looking back at your loved ones
Trying to avoid the soldier’s gun
You wonder why it must be you
Clammy feet in your cold shoes
The shiny star on your jacket reflects
the light from the sun as you take a deep breath
Blood rushes up, cold wind blows.
The large Nazi soldiers file you into rows.
You lock eyes with the young boy beside you
The look of fear upon his face
He’s alone in this world
His hands in the air, jacket down to his waist,
He knows not what is coming
Innocence prevails
You wish you could nurture him
But your hands are still in the air.

A Series of Questions

Paul Tsien
Grade, 12 Age 18

I must ask
Why it is that you stand so tall;
Your face clenched in sternness,
And your rifle
readied at the ground?

Why your overcoat must be
so neatly kept,
tightly buttoned
as though you were hosting
some formal affair?

As organized as you were,
these scenes reek of chaos
and despair,
and your hostmanship
isn’t appreciated by these families

You watch humans
flock in discomfort
with an aura of authority.
To be in your shoes,
I could never ask for so bleak an existence.