Carolyn King

Carolyn King is widely published in magazines & with three poetry collections. Competition successes over the last few years include 1st in Second Light and in Poetry on the Lake formal category and twice shortlisted for the Manchester Poetry Prize.

Krakow Ghetto – Winter 1941

is the title of the second track on my Christmas CD;
high on my wish-list – the theme from Schindler’s –
given to me by my daughter, who knows
that Itzhak Perlman’s violin makes me cry
(though she doesn’t understand why).
And if there was snow that winter of ’41,
I wouldn’t know – for I was one year old
and safe in England, warmly protected from the cold
by a mother whose major fear was the Blitz;
while Krakow infants stiffened at the dried-up paps
of starving mothers crying for Schindler,
and fathers wept for the ghost of a chance
of a place on that compassionate list.
My mother told me how the previous winter,
heavily pregnant, she fell in the snow and lay there,
helpless, hoping for a stranger – anyone –
to come along and set her on her feet;
while I, her unborn child, rocked back and forth –
rolled like a snowball, cradled like a dream –
my terra firma threatened by a natural force,
her yearning for a perfect baby put on ice.
Un-natural forces ruled in Krakow twelve months on
and strangers carried arms – not to assist
but to enforce fanaticism, warming to censure,
turning the gas full-on to fight the cold.
I’m the survivor – one who never faced
the unsound rationale that threatened every Jew
caught up by bigotry in that sectarian race:
a child born twelve months earlier than Krakow,
whose father used to play the violin.

Carolyn King

Latest publications (available from Carolyn):
Caviare and Chips, Human Writes, 2004, ISBN 0-9531860-2-4, £5.99;
The Reunion, ISBN 0-9531860-0-8;
Lifelines, ISBN 0-9531860-1-6

Woodleigh East
Madeira Vale
Isle of Wight
PO38 1QU
tel: 01983-852593
Carolyn King at poetry p f

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