by Paul Hartal
On a winter morning
you climbed the ladder to the attic with Peter.
He chopped wood for about a quarter of an hour
and you watched him silently.
Then you looked out
from the open window
and marvelled at the stunning views of the city,
the roofs, the streets and the canals of Amsterdam.
An azure sky curved down
kissing a pale blue horizon
and white seagulls with outstretched wings
were gliding on the wind.
Standing bare in the inner garden
Shiny silver drops perched on the branches
Of the lonely chestnut tree
Near the house at Keizersgracht 188.
And you found comfort and solace
in all this simple beauty of nature.
As long as such beauty exists in the world,
You said, and you may live to see it,
'this sunshine, the cloudless sky,
while this lasts', you 'cannot be unhappy'
you wrote in your Diary on February 23, 1944.
By now, for almost two years,
you and your family lived in hiding
at the house behind the Prinsengracht.
I was still free in my native land then
and attended the public school.
Last updated March 11, 2012