Monk in Auschwitz 18
In a dream Thomas saw a green landscape
On which four plain white houses stood,
Each of them empty, but with open doors.
On entering one he saw everything
Just as it had been
Before they had stormed in
Ordering the six of them out
With whips to waiting trucks.
Thomas ran his finger slowly
Along the rim of a cup, half filled,
Then moved over to a row of books
And felt their leather bindings.
Was this the family he saw
At the Auschwitz entrance ramp
Standing there clinging together,
Defying the whip Hoess was signaling
'To right, to left' with?
He ran them off for that offence,
As Thomas watched,
To the very next gassing
Where they clung together tighter yet,
Gasping twisted words like prayers
Until they themselves had passed over.
They pried them apart with rods
And broke those arms still clasping
To fit them through the furnace door
To be slid into fire—
Two nights later the dream returned.
The landscape still green
The four white houses
With open doors and Thomas,
Whose faith had crumbled,
Entered the one he knew
And was blinded by light.
Then he glimpsed the High Priest
At table with the six of them—
And Thomas, the broken monk, woke,
And on seeing Him for one blurred instant
And needed faith no longer.