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Tuesday, March 22, 2022


by Jean Varda

This video contains black and white footage after the liberation of Buchenwald.

I light a candle for peace and everywhere I go I pray
in my room on my bed on the street in my car,
when I breathe each inhalation is an image of hope
that the bombs will stop falling, the tanks will turn around no nukes will rain down, and those who are fleeing will reach safety and not die on their way.
How can one bear the thought of the little girl in blood
stained pajamas her mother running with her for help
then dying when she reached the hospital.
Even before I was born my mother protested war,
after the horrors of serving as a nurse in WWII
“How could they have kept from us Buchenwald,
Auschwitz, Treblinka?” She would repeat as she showed
me black and white footage of the camps and told me
how lucky I was to be born where I was with my Jewish
blood. She took me on my first peace march to protest
Vietnam, we stayed up all night on an old school bus,
I had never seen so many people at one time
as we marched on Washington.
My father taught me the Russians weren’t our enemies
that they wanted peace just like we did.
It didn’t match what I learned in school. He went to Cuba and Nicaragua, he loved the countries and the people. He was accused of being a Communist before I was born. I took my daughters to protests when they were small and showed them what I believed in, 
still we pray for peace.

Jean Varda's poetry has appeared in: The California Quarterly, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Third Wednesday, Speckled Trout, The New Verse News, and The Boston Literary Magazine. She has led poetry writing workshops and Open Mics around the country. She presently resides in Chico, California where she is working on an anthology of her poetry.