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Books & Poetry

Poem: Babi Yar

Books & Poetry

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A Ukrainian remembrance park at the site of one of the worst massacres of the Holocaust in World War II, Babi Yar (“Old Woman’s Gully”), is the subject of today’s Poet’s Corner contribution from JR McRae.

This week marks the anniversary of the 1941 massacre, in which almost 34,000 Jews were killed.

Babi Yar

Ice fingers reach out, grip and bind.
The crooked teeth of winter grind
The biting air. The wind whips oaks
Whose roots are red
That feed on Babi Yar’s long dead.

Frozen in time, a torn ravine,
Still photos of a killing scene.
The shot still rings, the victims
Hang mid fall, still seeing
The cliffs of ice engulf their being.

The trees stand sentinel and keep
A watch on Babi Yar’s long sleep.
The trees’ wide arms a barrier,
The oak’s leaf fingers scatter tears,
This is no place for prying stares…

Deep inside collective mind
The forest grows upon mankind.
It hides the children clinging to
The bones of mothers, fathers, kin
Silent as the night within

At Babi Yar.

JR McRae’s poetry, cover art and articles have featured in anthologies and journals in Australia, the UK and US. As JR Poulter, she also writes children’s books, with more than 20 print and digital titles published. Following her first job in a circus, she has held positions of senior reference librarian with John Oxley Library, full-time book reviewer for the Queensland Education Department, senior education officer Queensland Studies Authority, and associate lecturer at Queensland University. McRae will publish a new poetry book, Blood & Other Essentials, at the end of this year.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to A poetry book will be awarded to each contributor.

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