Antony Owen






On June 10, 1942, the German government announced that it had destroyed the small village of Lidice, Czechoslovakia, killing every adult male and some fifty-two women. All surviving women and children were then deported to concentration camps, or if found suitable to be “Germanized”, sent to the greater Reich. The Nazis then proudly proclaimed that the village  of Lidice, its residents, and its very name, were now forever blotted from memory.

With each sped up massacre
birds shot out from trees with each shaking luger,
let me report the apple orchard of drunk soldiers and wasps,
let me edit out the keen underling inebriated on cleansing a whole town.

With each slowed down massacre
I see men in rows of ten queue to meet their unmaker,
I see children humanised then germanised then heavenized.
Let me edit out the beautiful daughter now gargoyle of the cruel miasma.

With each decade Lidice moves a yard further from the surface.
Take my hand and walk us in single file to the orchard trees,
tell me that fascist butchers are ashamed of their meat,
how they rush bury the remains and guilt eats them.

Tell me that the ride to Lodz for the children was short,
that they never slept in their urine on gestapo floors,
tell me that their faces never went haggard in fog,
show me that all the things I know are too evil.




With five collections of poetry focusing on conflict Antony Owen is a well respected writer known for investigative poetry which took him to Hiroshima in 2015 to interview atomic bomb survivors. His subsequent collection, The Nagasaki Elder (V.Press) was shortlisted for a Ted Hughes Award in 2017


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