Sugihara

Issue FiveIssue Five PoetryPoetry

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By Moya Pacey

 

His right hand grips the pen

dips in and out of the ink-pot –

marks the sheet of white paper

bold with black character.

 

Forgive me

I pity them

I gave them the visas

I wish them the best…

 

On the train, Mother pulls the baby close,

makes room so Grandfather can rest.

Father checks his pocket, pats

the visa safe in his wallet.

 

Int he darkness outside: no camps

no chimneys or barbed wire fences.

Mother unfastens her coat, loosens

the scarf tight at her throat.

 

 

In 1941, Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania,

helped Jews leave by issuing them transit visas to Japan.

 

(‘Sugihara’ was shortlisted for Australian Catholic University Prize 2015 and was first published in Moya’s poetry collection ‘Black Tulips (Recent Works Press, 2017).)

Artwork by Kathryn Lamont.