The train was packed,
my mother and I
went back to our country,
after a few weeks
on board with my father.

The journey took several days by train.
We sat on green benches,
the last part of the journey with some Spanish men,
who were eating olives all journey.
They offered us some, but we didn’t like.

They drank wine and laughed much.
They had a lot of suitcases and bags.
We crossed a border once more,
and the train stopped.
Costums officers entered.

The Spanish men
got agitated, panicked.
Without knowing their language
my mother knew why.
They had no papers and needed to run.

They wanted to take
all their luggage, but there was no time.
“Go,” my mother said.
To make herself understandable,
she used her hands.

“I will put the luggage
out through the window.”
Did she have no respect for uniforms?
They left in a hurry
and my mother did as promised.

The train then left
a few moments later.
My mother seemed pleased
that she had been able
to help the poor Spanish men.

Then, the last thing we saw,
was how the customs officers
had caught up with them
on the platform.
They took the men away.

My mother cried for them,
feeling their defeat as her own pain,
as they were poor sods,
trying to earn a living.
She was a Mensch.

I don’t think this is a poem, but I tagged it as such anyway (May the poetry police be lenient!) It is a true story.


Comments on: "Mensch" (6)

  1. Maybe it’s a prose poem!

    Whatever it is it’s very good and very tense! I have only ever seen stuff like this on TV!!

    And sod the poetry police! Just like your mother seemed to think “sod the officers”!! 🙂

    L&H xx

  2. it’s an interesting story, Ina.
    heb je al een afspraak voor je oog operatie gekregen?
    fijn weekend, Francina 🙂

    • Hoi Francina, dank je. Donderdag moet ik naar de anesthesist voor een onderzoek en dan wordt de datum bepaald, de wachtlijst voor een vitrectomie is 4 weken dus het zal wel december worden… Jij ook een fijn weekend! groetjes, Ina

  3. This has a compulsive realism to it, and the last line is actually very arresting.

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