The Great Hunger ( Joseph Bau )

My multipleated trousers bound to my bony hips by a shoelace,
hiding the shape of my old belly,
like a petrified lump of bread in a ragged pocket.
Hunger has built built its nest in my desolate entrails.
It has become fruitful and multiplied,
filling my insides with
thousands of burning hungers.
Hey! Unplug my mouth!
I'm going to gulp down all the granaries in the world.
I'll join the everlasting royal banquet.
I'll gorge myself without restraint,
use my nails for forks to grab the browned, fat meats,
spiced with dill and garlic,
the hot peppered sauces, giving off their tigly, heavenly odors,
the creamy cakes covered with melted butter...
and more cakes to tickle my palate,
fried onion sauces with mayonnaise salads and meats,
roasted, cooked, fried, and smoked.
Here come the appetizer, the entree, and more,
millions of meals, meat and diary:
May my ears shake with gluttony
and my thirsty eyes fill with lust.
May my chin drip with thick, gluey fat
I'll wipe with neither hand or sleeve.
May the craving of my mouth fill the city squares,
with or without a "bon appetit!"
Eeerup! I'll let out a mighty burp and cry,
"Ladies and gentlemen, just a little more, until I'm sated."
Meanwhile, I luxuriate in meals digested long ago.
With hands raised to heaven,
I beg for alms like all the worls beggars,
who bring forth bread from the earth,
though by devious means.
Dear God, have you ever gone hungry?
Joseph Bau was born in Krakow, Poland in 1920. His education in The University for Plastic Arts in Krakow, was interrupted by World War II, when all the Jews were interned in concentration camps by the Nazis. During his internment Bau never lost his spark of humanity, humor and hope. He fell in love with another inmate, Rebecca, whom he married in Plashow Concentration camp despite the prohibition by the Germans. Bau smuggled himself into the women's camp and there they got secretly married. A silver spoon, concealed in the barracks, yielded the rings they exchanged. The camp bunk became their wedding bed. This unique wedding is featured in Stephen Spielberg's film "Schindler's List". The art saved his life. He worked as a draftsman and also wrote signs in Gothic letters. He also forged documents and identity papers for people who managed to escape from the camp. This way he saved 400 people. Bau wrote and illustrated a miniature book the size of the palm of his hand. It contains beautiful poems and drawings that did not mention at all the horrors occurring around him. Rebecca Bau placed her husband's name on the Schindler's list, and so saved him from Gross-Rosen, while she herself was sent to Auschwitz. The two were reunited after the war.

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