“A Fragment of the Quilt” by Geoffrey Philp

Geoffrey Philp


Sometimes I wonder which badge
I’d have been assigned—
red for political dissidents,
black for the “Rhineland bastards,”
a yellow star as a Mischlinge, Second Degree,
or purple with the other Jehovah’s Witnesses,
although they were beaten
with clubs on the other side
of the Atlantic in Klamath Falls,
Oregon, because they refused
to salute the American flag
or to kill their brothers and sisters
in Germany, who went to church
on Sundays wearing belts,
“Gott mit uns,” and murdered
the helpless on Monday.
Would I have had the courage
of Wolgang Kusserow, who before
he surrendered to the fate the Fuhrer
had designed for conscientious
objectors, could write to his family,
“We know our faith will be victorious,”
and repeated Psalm 83 under his breath,
“O God, do not be silent;
Do not keep quiet or still,”
before he stepped into the courtyard
of the Brandenburg penitentiary
to face the guillotine’s blade.

from Poets Respond
June 27, 2020


Geoffrey Philp: “After living 60 years of my life as a Black man from Jamaica and taking a DNA test where I discovered my Jewish ancestry, I am astounded by the endurance of Nazi propaganda and the need for constant vigilance.” (web)

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