In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Josef and Magda Goebbels’s six children, d. 5/1/1945

Concealed in blowing foam, a tiny seal
Scarce escapes my foot. Gaunt gulls guffaw.
But, rising swiftly, in a wave of teal
A barking  mother warns us that she  saw.

Running cows to Smith’s, my horse’s hoof
Grazes a fawn, disguised in tufts of dill.
Black legs pass, urged on by tooth and woof:
He shuts his eyes. His mother said “Lie still!”

But, three calves, left behind! (the river rising!)
Stand forlornly in the fading light
By dawn, they’re gone! We look. Wet, re-apprising,
The cows crossed back and saved them in the night!

See, mothers of the Air, the Land, the Sea!
They softly weave the Tapestry of Life,
While we, who seized  the Riddle of the Tree
Like Abraham, serenely  raise the Knife!

Through desert nurseries gallops the Destroyer
Flayed, five hundred thousand, in one ride
Or, motherhood herself is his employer
In the bunker with her cyanide.

Children, lie still. We’ll leave our god of Mammon,
Raze our ovens, bow our heads in prayer:
It is a dream, the  War, the Drought, the Famine
And when you wake, the Earth will still be there.

Ellen Taylor can be reached at