A Poem by Sophie Lewis, Year 8, "The Boy in the Field"

25 June 2020

I remember years past, in Poland cold,
With wintery whistles and gnarled trees old.
Sitting on my grandfather’s lap,
Hearing his ancient cane tap, tap, tap.

The fire crackled, embers fizzled and spat,
A gale howled outside, oblivious to where we sat.
Snow and hail hammered at the small wooden door,
As I listened to my grandfather’s tales of yore.

He’d told me every kind of fantasy story,
From fairies to pirates to battles quite gory.
Yet tonight was different, he was distant perhaps,
His eyes cloudy in remembrance of the past.

He told me a tale of a boy in a field,
Whose father fought in a war to whom nobody did yield.
When the sun rose in the morn,
The boy had to walk six miles through the red dawn.

It started the day fire fell from the sky,
And triplanes with red swirls emblazoned whirred up, oh so high.
The boy was captured, taken by the enemy,
His father then passed, his last words, “Remember me.”

The boy was taken to a place nobody returns from,
Shackled in chains, he mourned, his father was gone.
Despite his grief, he made a friend, Samuel Kalash,
Together they were forced to obey a man with a tiny little mustache.

After many a moon in that terrible place,
An opportunity came, the two had to make haste!
Bonding forces with a Swiss man named Mitch,
The boy and his friends escaped from Auschwitz.

For dark days and cold nights they were on the run,
Through forests and abandoned villages, hiding from the crack of a gun.
After two lonely years did they return to Poland’s comforting bounds,
Only to find it had been razed to the ground.

The war was over, the English had won,
There was rejoicing in every street; the boy no longer had to run.
Yet he mourned still, as he searched and he searched,
He never found his family, he realised with a lurch.

The boy grew older and left Poland behind,
Traversing the world in vain hope that his mother, he would find.
He moved to Britain and fell in love,
With a woman called Mary, whom he called his “dove.”

My grandfather’s tale ended as every good story should,
With happiness and freedom - I thought that was good.
But confused I was, for my grandfather did not smile;
He just sat by the fire and mused for a while.

Only after he had passed do I realise why:
The boy in the field was him, now the morn is nye.
And I remember back to Poland, sitting on my grandfather’s lap,
Hearing his ancient cane tap, tap, tap.