Silence kills

I walked past the bench today on the old pathway

a place we’d sit surrounded by woodland’s stretches

Where I’d listened to you talk of Poland before the war

Of the Germans, Auschwitz and you as a teenage boy

delivering bread from your father’s bakery

to the Waffen SS barracks I remembered in sepia tones

Photographs only. And you’d lose some loaves behind

the wire fences – no more words, no more details.

you did what was needed to be done. No questions.

What else could you do. Nothing more to say

The old bench is falling away now, the pathway a mire

of boot marks washed in black mud by the rains

constant falling and your days my dear Stanislaus

are getting forgotten too. Are you listening to the way the rain

is falling again today. And so with thoughts of you  I walk through

the heavy leafed trees weighed by the gathering rain

I’m lucky I’ve been surrounded by people like you

who through their actions mattered, your words of kindness too

Remembering you  I often wonder how your fathers bread tasted,

how it smelled in that place where burning flesh consumed the air

where burning human flesh and the violence could not be ignored.

And as you told me once silence kills – imagine a life with that?

Stanislaus Pipkin was originally from Poland. His father a baker

was forced to supply bread to the SS Barracks in Auschwitz

Concentration Extermination camp. Stanislaus as a teenager

helped his father by delivering bread to the barracks.

He also gave bread to the inmates although to do so

meant certain execution if discovered. Stanislaus

didn’t talk much about his activities.

After the war Poland was overran by Soviet forces

 and Stanislaus was eventually forced to escape to Britain.

He came to live in Wales where he worked in the mines.

He married, raised a family in Pontypridd.

When the communists were ousted from Poland

Stanislaus was able to return free from the fear

of reprisal for his activities.

Stanislaus Pipkin was honoured by Poland as a National Hero.


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