Three poems by S.E.Ingraham


An anthropologist,
she lived through
high drama.
Arrested by the Gestapo
for her role in the formation
of the French Resistance
Charges included could have
led to death
at Ravensbrueck
Designated to disappear
under Hitler’s famous
Nacht and Nebel
(night and fog) decree,
she survived.
Her mother, picked up
for hiding
a British airman,
died in a gas chamber
in 1945—
selected for death
for having white hair.
After the war, Tillion,
—an important
public intellectual
in the 1950s and 60s—
when thinkers like
Aron and Sartre
passionately debated,
she argued
French responsibility
to Algerians.
She delved into the past
to recall spectres of the Gestapo
becoming one of the first,
loudest voices
to protest French torture
of Algerian prisoners.
Tillion, who did not marry,
nor have children—
wrote an operetta—
A Camp Worker Goes to Hell,
while in the concentration camp.
Kept in a drawer for 60 years,
worried, “…people would get
the wrong idea, think we were
enjoying ourselves…”
The sheer darkness
of the humour
makes that unlikely.
A character joked that
the camp offers
“all the creature comforts –
water, gas, electricity –
especially gas.”
(Germaine Tillion 1907 – 2008 – anthropologist, hero, received sage status, for moral authority and lucid intellect)
Lately, every time I go on-line,
every time I open a new site,
or someone posts some new link,
I really wish I could be anywhere
but where I am…
Just…elsewhere, you know?
There are these photos of obviously
wealthy men (and if it isn’t obvious by
their clothes and grooming; they tell you
in the captions just how very well-off
these decadent sorts are), slumped
casually in a canvas-backed chair.
At first glance, it almost looks as if the
man with the perfectly coifed silver hair
might be just stroking a large male lion.
But there’s something off about the lion
And it doesn’t take long to discover
he’s been skinned, he’s dead —
and then further reading leads to
the abysmal fact that he’s just one of many
that was raised specifically to be hunted
down and slain for this man’s pleasure
(or another just like him).
Of course, lions are just one large game
species that fit the bill for this abhorrent
practise…and this, this is legal and above
board…it’s all about the money.
What isn’t legal but still goes on at an alarming
rate is poaching – rhinos, elephants, tigers –
you name it; if it’s becoming extinct…it’s
still being poached.
Of course, some animals are already gone,
hunted or poached into extinction. They’re—
I guess you could say—already elsewhere.

When that guy Snowden came out with his information
about all the inappropriate snooping the government
does routinely on ordinary folks
It didn’t surprise me in the least
Maybe it comes from watching too much of that show,
Person of Interest. I think it mirrors what Snowden’s
afraid of, and has gone to great lengths to talk about
People say to me that he’s just out for the publicity,
he’s a traitor; he’s this and he’s that.
I have a problem with this theory
He’s a man without a country now. He has to live in hiding,
probably for the rest of his life.
He tried to go through proper channels with his info when
he first discovered it, and was told by the powers that be,
he would likely be indicted, spend years in jail.
I agree with those who think he’s done a courageous
thing –
Will it do any good?
I really don’t know – I hope I don’t ever personally have to
find out.

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