Auf wiedersehen Grandma
The troll at the cemetery gate
Would not help us find
The entrance to the maze
In the Berlin Jewish cemetery.
The two guards
Faced one another across a big wooden desk,
And said that their English was, “shrecklich!”
So, therefore, they couldn’t help us.
“Mein Deutsch ist auch shrecklich,”
“Zusammen wir kanst das tuen!”
I showed a picture of a rare beauty,
I put her photo down on the desk.
“I am looking for her!”
He gave us a map,
It looked a long way away.
Holding our breath,
We walked slowly,
Arm in arm in the maze,
Along the straight avenue of ancient trees.
A golden October carpet spread out
Beneath our feet.
It felt soft and wet
As the rain melted down,
Across our tear-streaked faces,
For the grandma, we didn’t know.
Speechless, we searched for
The princess who died almost one hundred years ago,
Asleep in the forest,
In her ivy-clad coffin tower.
“Sorry, we took so long to get here
“We, too, have been sleeping in our busy lives!”
Umbrellas turned inside out,
We left them, abandoned and caught up,
In the low lying barbed wire branches.
The sharp wind grabbed us and begged us,
Like clutching fingers, to stay,
And our wet feet and shoes
Were becoming tangled up
In the long grass.
I lost my shoe and felt afraid.
We were walking like dreamers,
In the fairy tale castle woods,
In Wannsee, Berlin, October 24th 2017.
We cleaned the stones,
Read in German the message of
Who you were. Your life!
We told you of your brave ones,
Some still live on,
With their stories, packed in cases.
We said goodbye,
And then lost ourselves.
We drove back to the Brandenburg Gate, separately.
The living ones,
Having had a bust-up in the cemetery gardens.
In the morning we flew back home to Ben Gurion Airport.