Even then,
Surely even then,
There must have been
Days at Birkenau
As beautiful as this.

And even then
On such a day
It was surely inevitable
That you
Could sense again
Just for a moment
The clemency of things.

Beyond the watch-tower
And the black-fanged fence
In the sunlit grass, in the sun
Hazy over a wood,
Its leaves
Painted the October red
You remember
From the Matisse print
Eva brought home
That time
From Paris.
Some clemency even
In the church spire that rises
Beyond the wood.

And when the vixen
Scratching her ear
Met your eye
For a moment
Before loping away
Across the basking plain
After a hen or a hare
You saw
The freedom
And the rightness
Of an animal’s stride.

Then the usual
Grips you again.
Here there is
No clemency,
No clemency
In humankind.