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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

eve of holocaust memorial day

they don't even stop for the two minutes silence
cenotaph day - never mind respect the dead
or the sacrifice

as I walked in to administer meds last night
the man who sat on Ellena's bed wearing striped pyjamas

ashen faced
simply looked me in the eye and faded away
shrugging his shoulders

© Philip Johnson

Eleanor Margolis on her mixed feelings about Holocaust Memorial Day

Philip's words have appeared in: The Ugly Tree; Poetry Scotland, Emergency Verse, Write Away, Caught In The Net, Red Pencil, Writer's Hood, Transparent Words. He works in elder care.


  1. Love it, Philip, in particular the last verse. NL

  2. thank you, NL. I tend to write sponteanioussly and this piece come out of a tale I was told by one of my care staff who, come to report both they and the resident they were tending to had witnessed some old character wearing striped pyjamas wander past the doorway. Wanted to know if we had a new intake (of course we had not)?


  3. I really liked this.

    Concise, mysterious amd great atmosphere.

    Well done Philip!

  4. thank you, Anna and David. I think the first part about the cenotaph has been lurking for a long time just waiting to be sprung. When my senior care come to tell me about the stranger in the striped pyjamas it found a vehicle to effect its escape (And, I am so relieved to see it lives)!!