“If This Is a Man”

You who live safe 

In your warm houses, 

You who find on returning in the evening, 

Hot food and friendly faces: 

Consider if this is a man 

Who works in the mud 

Who does not know peace 

Who fights for a scrap of bread 

Who dies because of a yes or a no. 

Consider if this is a woman, 

Without hair and without name 

With no more strength to remember, 

Her eyes empty and her womb cold 

Like a frog in winter. 

Meditate that this came about: 

I commend these words to you. 

Carve them in your hearts 

At home, in the street, 

Going to bed, rising; 

Repeat them to your children, 

Or may your house fall apart, 

May illness impede you, 

May your children turn their faces from you. 

— Primo Levi 

Translated by Stuart Woolf


Popular posts from this blog

Acquainted With The Night

White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field