Birmingham City Council

A poem for Holocaust Memorial Day by India Miller

Holocaust Memorial Day

India Miller was the Young Poet Laureate for Birmingham 2009-2010.

India wrote this poem to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.


imprisoned
(to the six million)

a flutter, deep down in my chest
reminds me that my heart is still alive
the burgundy-red of my blood is pumping, fierce:
I have swallowed my passion.
for my body is the only sanctuary –
my pallid, sunken skin, dappled with pools of purple,
camouflages the moth of liberty
stretching my insides.

they think I am suitably soulless now –
a pretence I put on with my wretched thinness
and bloodshot eyes
(they think I am exhausted from the ceaseless work –
in fact, the red road maps the attempted escape
of my concealed colour)
they don’t know that the spirit will never be destroyed
they cannot understand that however much they try
they can never repress our thoughts, feelings, determination,
they do not know that one day
history will fall into silence
as we think of what was done
and again we will promise never to repeat it
and this time, we’ll hope and hope
and hope
our promises will be kept.


Other resources on our website:

Poems for Holocaust Memorial Day - from our other Young Poets Laureate
Holocaust Memorial Day - a booklist for young people
Holocaust Memorial Day - recommended reading list for adults
Web sites about the Holocaust