Phantoms of Memory, by Veronique Jonas Phantoms of Memory, by Veronique Jonas ” Island of Roses ” The winding path of memory Takes me past doorways, past windows Under the washing lines, Over ancient cobblestones. Echoing footsteps Of lovers, Hand in hand Walking towards their dreams. Past open windows I smell the blooms, And I imagine Bourekas and Pastelis, Linking me to this little island, The beautiful island of roses. “Holocaust Tornado” It came suddenly, It came with furor, Like a tornado It swept in And the next minute It was gone, Leaving destruction Leaving emptiness. Broken bodies, broken souls And a deep, deep blue sky. “If Walls Could Talk ” An open doorway, but no door No one is there. Just a bright sky – yet so dull. I see the faces Or are they souls? I hear voices Weeping Seeping through the stones? A thousand Kadish chants Calling me, beckoning Come back, come back to the walls. We are your memory, We saw the life and the joy, We heard the laughter, And now all is silence. “Looking Down from Above ” Looking up, up the stairs, Past the doorway, Into the deep, deep blue sky, They look down on me And smile. I have come home But they are now gone There is no one left. Only stones Cold, grey stones, To tell of the love That could have been, And would have been mine. They are there, Looking down, down the stairs Looking down from above. “If Vines Could Tell” If vines could tell Of a little corner, In a quaint winding alley, A wall that was a home, Two vacant windows remain. Just a reminder Of the vanished lives, The sounds of chitter-chatter, The laughter of children, The crying of babies. Now, only the stones remain, And one lonely vine To tell of the families that Once lived In this little corner, At the end of a quaint winding alley. “Kahal Shalom” Over five centuries of history, From inquisition to Shoa Stands Kahal Shalom, A synagogue, a jewel, Where voices once echoed in prayer, Where ancient songs flowed From lofty windows. On Sabbath, on holidays, They gathered For community, for comfort, For celebration and for prayer, Crowding at its gate, Living life’s cycles With love and with zest. They all disappeared, The young and the old Wrenched by their roots, Leaving only stones To tell their stories, And a long list of names, A testimony to those that once lived. And now, the ghosts return Frequently, mysteriously, To hover around, To sigh and remember Their beloved Kahal Shalom. “In The Shadows of Memory ” I walk through the arches Deeper and deeper Into the shadows of memory Each step echoes in my heart And draws me closer and closer To a past I did not know A past that was not mine And yet embedded in my soul. It is cold and dark, and I am alone In the shadows of memory. Planted somewhere, some time Long, long ago. Seasons in and seasons out They bloom and they shine. I pass under the Bougainvillea Red, Pink and white, Bursting with life. The hand that planted Is no longer there. I think of all those That passed under Its sheltering color, I think of those Taken away Never to see another Red, Pink or white, Never to smell another flower, Only the bleak and cold grey Of a hopeless tomorrow “Rhodes Today” 60 years later, Tourists come and they go, Through this portal They stroll From the ports, to the beaches, Past the shops and the ”Judeirea” They do not know the life that was, The lives that were, The sounds of joy that overnight Became the sounds of horror. They only see the turquoise sea, The ancient stones, They feel the Mediterranean sun, Upon their skins. They tap to the rhythm of bouzoukis, Sipping on ice cold ouzos, Feeling warm and contented As they savor Rhodes today. “All Is Not Pink” Pitter, patter, pitter, patter Through the arches, Through the doorways They came and they went They ran, they played, they sang They cried – They are crying now – somewhere – but where? Now they are gone The young, not fully grown. Only the pink walls remain, An echo, a hum of small footsteps, Pitter, patter, pitter, patter….. “A Raibow of Tears ” In the center of the square, A cold and majestic trio Crowns a fountain. Doves frolic in its fresh water, At its mosaic base, Colorful tourists pose, Beaming and oblivious Of the tears that gently flow From molten eyes. The sea horses remember All those who gathered To play and to sing, To love and embrace, And all those who were gathered And then were gone. Amidst the grays of yesterday’s shadows The tears reflect The rainbows of today, And a better tomorrow. “The Wedding” Joyfully they returned To the cavernous remains Of a perished community. In an ancient synagogue, They stood hand in hand. They were wed and were blessed. Through broken windows Birds twittered their applause. In the Judeiria they danced With friends and with loved ones. Creating new memories, Remembering the old. And through it all, Three hippocampuses wept With sadness and with joy – The enemy fell, The bloodline resumes its flow.