Poem ‘Little Anne’

Ruins of York Castle / Clifford's Tower. Franç...

Ruins of York Castle / Clifford's Tower. Français : Ruines du château d'York. Tour de Clifford. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Little Anne

How could it have a name,
this skeleton dug up in York?
I asked myself many times,
sitting there transfixed by the image –
a face with no flesh

in the open newspaper on the floor.
In the background
the Righteous Brothers sang,
requiem voices reverberating.
A lone, leaden bass

dripping in a sad, grey pool.
I stared at those empty sockets
as if I had known her,
unsure if I was mortal, too.
On the black and white T.V.

they were burying Churchill.
From the kitchen mother’s
caveats decried the great man,
how she’d marched into
the polling booth back

in forty five dressed all in red!
But when I asked her what
a Jewess was, she wouldn’t say.
All I wanted to know was how
Anne had ended up like this,

disturbed in her rest
while Churchill went to his.

poem © copyright df barker 2012

*first published in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available at amazon

* PLEASE ALSO SEE http://mikemalonemysteries.wordpress.com/

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47 comments

  1. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words · May 1, 2012

    such a sad question not to have an answer to

    )0(

    Like

  2. Ina · May 1, 2012

    Hi David

    Mysterious, this poem…

    It leaves me with many questions, like who was this Anne?

    I once wan a jigzaw puzzle in Portsmouth with the funeral of Winston Churchill on it and when I see tags saying massacre, jews and Anne, esp. in this time of year, I think of Anne Frank. But who was this girl in York…

    Then again, for appreciating the poem, it doesn’t make a difference if I know or not, as it is the way you wrote this intruiging story ( with the simultanious events, the burial of the important Churchill and the find of this little Anne) itself that makes it a wonderful read 🙂

    Like

  3. dfb · May 1, 2012

    Hi Ina, thank you! Well, the idea for this comes from an actual memory in January 1965 at the time of Winston Churchill’s death and funeral. Around the same time, there was this feature in a newspaper (I was around 6!) about skeletons found in York, dating back to the pogrom/massacre of jews carried out there at York castle. After this, all the jews in England were exiled and weren’t allowed back until Oliver Cromwell let them in. At that age, I was only just coming to terms with the idea of my own mortality and seeing this skull/skeleton had a profound effect on me, as did the funeral… and the music of the time.

    Like

  4. Ina · May 1, 2012

    🙂 Thank you for explaining who she was. Horrible events in history! The poem is a wonderful reflection of that confusing time when you find out you will eventually not be anymore!

    Like

  5. magsx2 · May 1, 2012

    Hi,
    A very intriguing story, and very deep thoughts.

    Like

  6. abichica · May 1, 2012

    Beautiful!!! I really enjoyed it, and i absolutely love love love all of your paintings.. 🙂

    Like

  7. dfb · May 1, 2012

    Thank you so much Ina! We are all human, first.

    Like

  8. dfb · May 1, 2012

    Thank you very much!!!

    Like

  9. dfb · May 1, 2012

    Thank you so much, you are so kind!

    Like

  10. cjksp · May 1, 2012

    nice

    Like

  11. Pete Armetta · May 1, 2012

    Very interesting and indeed mysterious. Quite the atmosphere. I enjoyed reading the comments and your expansion of this piece, and “where it came from”. Love it, and I learned a bit about a history I’ve never even heard of. Very cool. Love the picture.

    Like

  12. E A M Harris · May 1, 2012

    I really liked this poem. The mingling of different times gave it depth and mystery.

    Like

  13. rangewriter · May 1, 2012

    Haunting, stark, and thought-provoking come to mind. Interestinly, I just completed a series of lectures by a very learned history professor about the history of Jewish persecutions and pogroms. It’s funny how things align themselves sometimes.

    Like

  14. dfb · May 1, 2012

    Thank you so much Pete! I appreciate it.

    Like

  15. dfb · May 1, 2012

    Thank you very much!

    Like

  16. dfb · May 1, 2012

    Linda, thank you very much!

    Like

  17. Soma Mukherjee · May 1, 2012

    Beautiful and quite intriguing story..and although the sad horror event dominates what got me thinking after I read your reply to Ina was how deeply events effect a kid..and we know that but keep forgetting…..

    Like

  18. claudia · May 1, 2012

    there shouldn’t be a difference but there is…i like your thoughts here…even more after reading in the reply that you were only six when you heard about this..the brain of kids have a simple and good logic in my opinion…sometimes i wish we could save a bit more of this into our grown up life

    Like

  19. susangeckle · May 1, 2012

    Movng poem. Old human remains are fascinating.

    A mass grave in Florida was found a few years back and I have thought of it ever since. They’re called the ‘Windover bog mummies.” About 170 or so mummies were found by construction workers Because of the pH conditions of the soil, even the soft tissues of the brain were preserved. They turned out to be over 7,000 years old.

    The DNA was European.

    Like

  20. dfb · May 1, 2012

    Yes, indeed Soma – thank you very much!

    Like

  21. dfb · May 1, 2012

    Thank you very much Claudia – yes, this is basically true, as far as I remember it!

    Like

  22. dfb · May 1, 2012

    Thank you so much Susan! What a fascinating find that was, I’ve never heard of it but… European? That’s intriguing.

    Like

  23. jmmcdowell · May 1, 2012

    Beautiful poem, and thank you for the insight into the history behind it.

    Like

  24. Millie Ho · May 1, 2012

    Mysterious and emotional. Great work.

    Like

  25. Three Well Beings · May 1, 2012

    Oh my, my, my! What a childhood memory. I needed to read your responses to be sure who you intended, but I got the point right from the start. I immediately flashed to Anne Frank, who at least gives me a face to connect with. I love the backdrop of your memory–Righteous Brothers, open newspaper on the floor…and my mother wouldn’t have answered the question either! I never understood why some things just couldn’t be spoken–my imagination always ended up being far more frightening than anything she could have told me in truth! I really “feel” this piece. Debra

    Like

  26. Eve Redwater · May 1, 2012

    Love the story behind this poem David!

    Like

  27. Angela · May 1, 2012

    I loved reading this poem, David. You have a wonderful way with your poetry that surprises the reader – and I love to be surprised within your lines. Great write!

    Like

  28. lscotthoughts · May 1, 2012

    Beautifully written and mysterious, as others have said, David, and I also appreciate your clarification to Ina of the history behind your words and the fact that you were only 6, makes it even that more interesting~

    Like

  29. dfb · May 2, 2012

    Thank you very much indeed!

    Like

  30. dfb · May 2, 2012

    Millie, I thank you so much!

    Like

  31. dfb · May 2, 2012

    I thank you so much Debra! I appreciate your comments.

    Like

  32. dfb · May 2, 2012

    Once again, I thank you Eve for your kind words!

    Like

  33. dfb · May 2, 2012

    Angela, I thank you so much, I’m flattered by comments from someone who writes so well!

    Like

  34. dfb · May 2, 2012

    Yes, thank you so much Lauren. It’s easy to forget that persecution in all its form has been with us since… well, humanity began! 😦

    Like

  35. journeyintopoetry · May 2, 2012

    This is a really fascinating poem David.

    I love how you combine two different themes which both appear as having equal standing. I’m not sure i could ever do this. When I try my poems start meandering all over the place until they finally get completely lost and end their journey in any handy bin!! 🙂

    Christine

    Like

  36. Francina · May 2, 2012

    Hi David,
    Haunting , beautiful and Bittersweet poem.
    Even though this little girl was found in York, my thoughts skipped straight away to Anne Frank too. Of course Anne Frank was just one of the many millions of those who died during WW2 in and outside the camps besides all those other people from different nations .Your last lines are very respectfully and well chosen.
    Ciao, Francina

    Like

  37. dfb · May 2, 2012

    You are very kind Christine, thank you so much! Keep trying, that’s all I can say Christine, but then, if you feel you can’t ‘combine’ themes, perhaps your gifts lie elsewhere in other forms of poetry. You might be surprised! 🙂

    Like

  38. dfb · May 2, 2012

    Thank you Francina, you are very kind. You are so correct about Anne Frank, that awful personal tragedy amidst a huge one and what I was trying to do was show that persecution has been going on a long, long time.

    Like

  39. Christy Birmingham · May 2, 2012

    What a great step back into history with a poetic story attached!

    Like

  40. Bonnie Staiger · May 2, 2012

    I love poems that weave impressions with fact/history. They create a magical play between both worlds. I especially like the line: “I stared at those empty sockets as if I had known her,” You looking at her…she looking back at you . . . or not. Powerful. Kudos!

    Like

  41. dfb · May 3, 2012

    Bonnie, thank you so much! You are so very kind!

    Like

  42. dfb · May 3, 2012

    Thank you so much Christy!

    Like

  43. Betty Hayes Albright · May 4, 2012

    Fascinating poem, David – putting together the burial of Churchill and the exhumation of Anne… the way you must have wondered as a young boy, putting the two together. (I remember when Churchill died – I was a senior in high school and we talked about him in our “contemporary affairs” class….)

    Like

  44. simonreadbooks · May 4, 2012

    I really enjoyed the way you intertwined two unrelated occurrences into one haunting tale.

    Like

  45. dfb · May 4, 2012

    Yes, thank you so much Betty! I was nearly six and it was a very sombre but vivid time, the music and events of the time playing against this historical backcloth.

    Like

  46. dfb · May 4, 2012

    Thank you Simon, very much – I do appreciate it.

    Like

  47. bardessdmdenton · May 9, 2012

    Mortality is a strange thing to contemplate…and I love the juxtaposition of the death of the great and the unknown.

    Like

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