I Never Saw Another Butterfly is the name of a book of poetry written by children in the Terezin concentration camp. The book is named for a poem written by Pavel Friedman, who was killed in Auschwitz.

Poetry is a wonderful way to get at emotions buried so deep that normal prose can’t reach. It’s also an easier method for kids as their thought process and writing skills are more fragmented, which lends itself quite well to poetry (although my friend, poet Lynn Melnick, might disagree…what do you think, Lynn?).

Here are some from Texas elementary school student Katy A.:

Lying in our filth
We pray to God for some food
Help us through the night.

Coming into play
The sounds of pain and need
Look into the eyes.

Tired and weary
Standing for days at a time
In the rumbling trains

Darkness takes over
Bones sticking out of my chest
Where else can we go

More student poetry, this time from a middle school in South Carolina:

We lost our freedom
Nazi’s came and took our lives
Why are they so cruel?
by Walker Knight

The camp is lonely
I’m so hungry, I ate dirt
Mad being a Jew
by David Sanchez

The fence, cold, hard, tall –
divides humans from humans
It should be torn down!
by Alyssa Steele

Sky dark as night rain
Pouring down; dark room door, shut
We were no more
by Mason Duncan


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