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The Visit

by  llydstp

Posted: Saturday, July 2, 2005
Word Count: 328
Summary: In February I visited a place I had wanted to go to for many years. It has taken me five months to find a way of writing about it - I hope it was worth the wait.

Night in a Polish city
Snow lying deep in lonely streets
Quiet mostly and dark
Except for the muted sounds from distant bars
And here and there
Pools of light spilling yellow from vague misted windows

Suddenly I am aware of her
A woman who steps out of the darkness
Dressed against the cold
Fur hat
Fur collar on black coat skirting leather boots
Scarf drawn carefully across a beautiful face
Only her eyes are visible
Fabulous eyes
And locked within them
The secrets of countless centuries

My eyes are free of secrets and hide nothing
They openly show my love for this woman
A love that is not new
A love from another place
A thousand miles away and a lifetime ago
Come with me to The Place of Screams I say
Her reply is soft-spoken and warm

The old train groans
Windows and doors rattle to the rhythm
Of wheels on cold steel rails
Red seats
Ticket inspections every few miles
But at least we have tickets to inspect
Different to those who made this journey years ago
Cattle-like in wagons
And we will be coming back

An hour or so to get there
To this place I had imagined a thousand times
The screams are gone
But the echoes remain
Like the background radiation of the Universe

The railway track
The tower
The barbed-wire fences with lamps like sentries
Wooden huts much bigger than you thought they would be
Like everything else here the scale of them is terrifying
At last I can reach out and touch these hideous things
The years of wondering over

And then there is the other place
Buildings of brick this time
But the same barbed wire with silent sentries
The terrible lie told in wrought-iron letters
Block eleven
The gallows where Hoesse was sent to meet his vile maker
Ha! Ha! Ha!

I should have crumbled
But she was by my side
The mysterious woman of Cracow