The Butterfly
The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone…..

Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ‘way up high.
It went away I’m sure
because it wished
to kiss the world good-bye.

For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here, in the ghetto.

Pavel Friedman
June 4, 1942
Born in Prague on January 7, 1921
Deported to the Terezin Concentration Camp on April 26, 1942
Died in Aushchwitz on September 29, 1944

The poem above is from the book, I Never Saw Another Butterfly, by Hana Volavkova. Amazon describes the book in this way. “Fifteen thousand children under the age of fifteen passed through the Terezin Concentration Camp. Fewer than one hundred survived. In these poems and pictures drawn by the young inmates, we see the daily misery of those uprooted children, as well as their hopes and fears, their courage and optimism.”

When I was in college, one of my professors shared some of the poems from this book with our class. Listening to some of the darkest days of the world’s history through the eyes of the children who lived it was haunting and disturbing. Many times during my career as a teacher, I felt the need to see children through the experiences they lived through and tried to find this book to remind me that my own world and experiences were privileged and small.

With the news flooded with the horrifying stories of children taken from their families at our southern border and placed into holding facilities, I once again felt the need to find this book. Thanks to Amazon, I will soon have my own copy.

Politics has never been of interest to me. For the most part, I have a deep distrust of anyone who chooses to seek the power of political office. But, I do care about children and never in my wildest dreams did I think that the horrors experienced by the children of the Holocaust would be experienced by children here in the United States. My heart is broken, not only for those families who have been torn apart, but for what has become acceptable for so many people, so many Christians, in our country.

Today I saw a picture of a sign outside of a church that said, “Instead of building a wall, we need to build a giant mirror so that we can see what we have become.” One thing is certain. We will all stand in judgement for the choices that are being made, not just our leaders, but each of us for our actions or lack of action. The Bible is clear. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40, 45, NIV). Perhaps we should all dust off our “WWJD” bracelets and wear them once again to remind us that our hearts, our actions, our loyalty belong not to any politician or mortal man or woman, but to our Savior.