Unknown: It’s Burning

It’s Burning! (The Waif)
by Unknown

The roof is burning!
flames rise from the cellar.
chimneys break, stairs hang,
knives and axes overhead.

Sparks on walls, roof in flames,
so we jump from step to step.
falling debris hot and red,
knives and axes overhead.

If I fly like bird in air –
then the fire burns my feet,
If I swim like fish in water,
I dissolve in fiery heat.

Flying where it’s cool and far,
I ride the current of the wind.
A dancing beast leaps up at me
and gives chase with sharp red tongue.

If I become the blowing wind
whistling down chimneys and valleys,
I change into a howling dog,
and a jackal in the desert.

So my life goes up in smoke…
I’m a wandering homeless waif
Though I’ve not begun to live –
I’m a wind that wails and wails.

Ber Mark (Di Umgekumene Shreiber
fun di Getos,Warsaw, 1954) refers
to this poem as being by an unknown
author written before the Hitler era
as “breathing with new life in present
ghetto circumstances”.