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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)

TITLE: The Three Million
By Virginia Lee Bliss


Through Poland, land of fields, I ride.
Alone I am, without a guide.
Around me ghosts of those who died.
“You’re home at last, my son!” they cried.

From whispers through the trees I hear
The voices that I hold so dear.
The fir trees help to bring a tear.
The birches speak of yesteryear.

Nine hundred years, three million souls.
The people of the ancient scrolls
Called Poland home until the tolls
Of bells brought death on grassy knolls.

In Lublin pastures, lilies wave
In breezes singing of the brave.
Of those who gave their lives to save,
Now lie within a shallow grave.

In Sandomierz high on a hill
I listen to the robin’s trill.
My family home I long to fill
With hope---but how can I instill?

On Krakow’s cobblestones I tread
The path that to my home once led.
I ask a passerby who said,
“That house is now a morgue, instead.”

To Esther Street I venture back.
Where once a figure dressed in black
Walked merrily with trader’s pack,
Stands in his place a hollow plaque.

But wait! I hear a Klezmer band.
A violinist, bow in hand;
A clarinet with music stand.
A merry tune they play unplanned.

And then to my profound surprise
A sight before me does arise.
A synagogue before my eyes,
And at the door a rabbi wise.

“Please tell me, Rabbi, can it be
“That those who once were forced to flee,
“May now return, that we may see
“Them live here happy, safe, and free?”

“Oh yes, my son, I feel it’s true,
“The People of the Book who flew
“From Poland will return anew.
“Once more the Promised Land we knew.”

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This poem is dedicated to the memory of the three million Polish Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

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This article has been read 723 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Holly Westefeld06/05/08
Outstanding! So somber, with flickering hope at the end. The meter is flawless, and your excellent use of enjambment gives it a lyrical flow, like a ballad. Not many people could pull off stanzas where all four lines rhyme, without it being sing-song or hokey, but you have done so masterfully!
Chely Roach06/05/08
This is phenomenal...so rich and melancholy. I don't tend to make predictions, but I think this might be a placer. Amazing.
Beth LaBuff 06/05/08
This is outstanding, you meter excellent, and your rhyming pattern one of the most difficult because you need four rhyming words for each stanza. Your tribute is poignantly and beautifully written. I remember reading of many of these places. I love your ending. I take my hat off to you.
Jan Ackerson 06/05/08
Simply outstanding in every way! I'm standing and applauding madly.
Deborah Engle 06/06/08
Joanne Sher 06/08/08
This is incredible. Wonderfully done, with excellent images, wonderful rhyme and just moving in every way.
Norma-Anne Hough06/08/08
This was very moving and beautiful. A wonderful tribute to those who paid the price. I have goosebumps after reading it.
Dee Yoder 06/08/08
Excellent writing and beautifully moving tribute! Love it.
Debbie Wistrom06/08/08
WOW. I've been to Poland, but never to the locations your poem mentions.

I love this and hopes is places. Very well done!
Laura Anne Harrison06/08/08
OUTSTANDING! And so beautifully done with perfect meter and rhyme.It is a winner for sure!
God bless you for writing this piece!
Kristen Hester06/08/08
Wonderful! This flowed perfectly. I loved the message also. Great job!
Lyn Churchyard06/08/08
We applaud you; stand up and take a bow. Superb doesn't even begin to cover it.
Catrina Bradley 06/08/08
Very engaging - I couldn't stop reading! The rhyme and meter is wonderful, and the tale told sad and encouraging at the same time. Nice enjambment, too. :)
Joshua Janoski06/10/08
REMARKABLE! If this doesn't place in the top 3 this week, I will be soooo very surprised. Being of Polish decent, and having a great interest in the holocaust, this poem really stood out to me. And to top it off, it was masterfully written. Let us never forget those whose families were taken by this tragic event.
LaNaye Perkins06/10/08
This is a beautifully done tribute to the Polish Jews. Bravo my friend, BRAVO!
Charla Diehl 05/08/13
Virginia, this is a stirring piece of poetry at its best. There is Polish ancestry in my family and this is a beautiful tribute to those victims of the Holocaust.
So glad this was showcased this week so I had the opportunity to read it. Blessings your way,