Penny Novack, Guest Poet


 Penny is a friend who is a poet, an activist, and a role model and inspiration to many.
When I read this poem I asked her if she’d like to share it. The first stanza grabbed me, and I thought you folks would appreciate her writing.
This from Penny:
I’m a few years still from 80 and have been writing poetry for most of those years.   This and one other came to me during the High Holy Days perhaps ten years ago.  It speaks to the humanness of those who dealt with the entirety — not just the camps — and of those who still grieve but live and remember.


Ordinary People

Ordinary people, such as yourself,

Such as myself,

Were taken from their homes, their workplace,

The streets

Ordinary children, such as your children,

Such as our grandchildren —

All the generations

Were taken

Or simply killed in their homes,

In their places of work,

In the streets.

In the camps, hidden in cellars,

Ordinary people gathered the corners of their lives

Together around them,

Became for a time the whole of all generations past

Some in despair

Some in anger

Some in hope

In the midst of the Holocaust was life

Each breath must do for all who had died.

In the midst of the Holocaust was a memory

Tied to ancestors back to Abraham,

Back to Moses

Back to David

Back to Babylon and Rome.

When you have been in exile you know

You are now the voice of those who have died.

You were brought out of Mitzraim.

You were returned to Jerusalem from Babylon.

You were scattered and scoured time and again.

As we live and have breath

We are the voices of the Holocaust.

Ordinary people such as yourself,

Such as myself,

Still teach our children and remember.




About elainereardon

Poet, writer, gardener, herbalist, pottery, painting—bumping into magic, peeking around new corners.
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