Poets United Midweek Motif ~ “a bundle of contradictions” (from Anne Frank's last letter)

Anne Frank Huis

By Andrew Motion

Even now, after twice her lifetime of grief
and anger in the very place, whoever comes
to climb these narrow stairs, discovers how
the bookcase slides aside, then walks through
shadow into sunlit room, can never help

but break her secrecy again. Just listening
is a kind of guilt: the Westerkirk repeats
itself outside, as if all time worked round
towards her fear, and made each stroke
die down on guarded streets. Imagine it—

four years of whispering, and loneliness,
and plotting, day by day, the Allied line
in Europe with a yellow chalk. …

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Poets United Midweek Motif

Anne Frank Huis

By Andrew Motion
Even now, after twice her lifetime of grief
and anger in the very place, whoever comes
to climb these narrow stairs, discovers how
the bookcase slides aside, then walks through
shadow into sunlit room, can never help
but break her secrecy again. Just listening
is a kind of guilt: the Westerkirk repeats
itself outside, as if all time worked round
towards her fear, and made each stroke
die down on guarded streets. Imagine it—
four years of whispering, and loneliness,
and plotting, day by day, the Allied line
in Europe with a yellow chalk.
Continue Reading