Michel M.J. Shore

The Cry from Warsaw

This Poem’s “Cry”  is still heard as the conscience of the world has not awakened to the events of October 7, 2023 in Israel.

The Cry from Warsaw

(1968 Poem reprinted in memory of our Mother, Dr. Lena Allen Shore from her book, “ May the Flowers Grow”)

( Fifth anniversary of the  passing of Lena Allen-Shore on the first day of Hanukah 2018. For further information on this extraordinary educator, author, poet, composer and human being and Holocaust survivor, please see  and for ”music by Lena Allen Shore”   plus an award winning lullaby and book  in collaboration with my brother, Jacques J. M. Shore, Order of Canada Recipient)


I remember a spring

Like the others before.

I remember the rays of sunshine.


I remember the fields covered with grass,

The green fields,

The flowers and gardens.


I remember a bird,

An enchanted bird,

Blessing its nest with a song.


I remember young girls,

Who smiled every night

At their lovers

On the eve of death.


I remember one spring

And a stream of blood

In 1943.


I remember men

Handsome and strong

Long, long ago.


My friend,

Do you understand?

No, you will never understand.

In my country of today,


In this blessed country,

It is hard to understand

The suffering of yesterday.

We have grown blind to suffering.


I remember many kinds of men,

Some of them with the hearts of stone,

some of them with the heart of a child.

They did not want to die

At the age of twenty,

Twenty-five years ago.


Millions were dying then –

Every day on the cross –

The cross of hate.

My brothers speak to me each night.

From far away I hear their cry

The cry from Warsaw.


Across my memories,

Their shadows appear,

Their eyes are watching me,

I see them in my beating heart,

They live there:

The children who never became men,

The women who never became mothers,

Men, hounded beings,

Who whispered:

“ We do not want to die.”


And I remember men

Who did not whisper at all,

Heroes without words,

They carried their heads high,

Their hands strong as hammers

Resolved to fight,

Only their hands.

For their minds knew

That they could never win

Against the foe.


They fight for dignity

And for one page in history

To be written after their death.


The page is still unwritten,

For the conscience of the masters of history

Is sound asleep.


I walk through the streets of Paris,

I enter the Opera,

I listen to Faust

By Gounod.


The devil on the stage is kind,

Very kind,

Why did I see so many devils

In my life,

The devil is dancing.

How many dancing devils have passed by

On my journeys,

Laughing, grinning, cruel,

But they could not take from me

The love of life.


My brothers in Warsaw

Loved life as I do.

They died

Because no one was listening

To their cry.

No one condemned their useless deaths.


I walk through the streets of New York,

I stroll down Fifth Ave.

I look at the windows full of light –

They are too bright for me,

And in the middle of all the lights

I see the darkness of Mila St.

And I hear Chopin,

From far away.

Chopin played by my friend.

The Polonaise in A Major follows me,

It is mighty and great.

My friend is dead,

But his music is still in my ears.

Chopin accompanies

The cry from Warsaw.


In Carnegie Hall,

I close my eyes,

I want to forget my past.

I dream with the orchestra.

The conductor is my master

In the enchanted world of harmony.


An hour or two passed by,

And suddenly, the soloist,

With one note of despair,

Reminds me of you

You, who are gone,

And you,

And you.

I travel around the world.

At the last gala in Milan,

I search for the music of peace.

The Oratorio of Haydn

Is merciful

For those who look for mercy,


For those who are powerful,

Human and deep, for those who suffer

Weeping along with me.


In Vancouver near the ocean,

I watched the quiet waves

and listen to their song.

Time is passing,

Fast as the wind.

Where are the children

Who did not grow.


The cry from Warsaw follows me,

In Venice, in Calgary,

In Los Angeles, in Geneva.

In any street, any noise,

Reminds me of other sounds

Of other streets,

Where noises mingled

With the staccato of machine guns,

They still rise up to heaven

Night and day.


In San Francisco,

On the Golden Gate Bridge,

I ask myself:

Will I find my own bridge one day,

The bridge between my past

And my present?


Yes I will.


When the ear of the world

Will touch the soil

To kneel in repentance

For what it has done.

When the hands of the world

Will join to build

A happier tomorrow.


When the eyes of the world

Will see the truth,

When the heart of the world

Will be strong enough to love,

Then the cry from Warsaw

Will pass away.


Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal

Winter 1968

Copyright by Lena Allen-Shore 2006

About the Author
Michel M.J. Shore is a retired judge of the Federal Court of Canada and recently made a home in Israel. He is the writer of several published books and poetry collections.
Related Topics
Related Posts