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To My Neighbor

I lift you higher,
lift you out
of your body cells
stuffed with anxiety
of your past -
an evil load that smells.

I'll fill each cell
with love and joy
that makes the
angels dance.
You'll glide through earthly
filth and stench -
a spiritual trance.

From your youth filled eyes,
your hands
and feet,
a holy peace shall flow,
so you and I
be filled with grace -
let us be still
and know.

William Hermanns


Seelentränen sind Gedichte,
rot mit Herzblut aufgeschrieben,
tiefem Menschenleid zum Ruhm,

Lies sie still in reinem Lichte,
frei von Trieben:
Du betrittst ein Heiligtum.

Wilhelm Hermanns

William Hermanns


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William Hermanns

Poem of William Hermanns

Poem List


                    The Knock At The Door

                         - A German Ballad -

Did you see God's house change to a blazing light—
David's golden star crash to the street below?
"I have witnessed the Crystal Night;
I'm sure the Fuehrer did not know."
Did you see the gold cross on the tower,
how it shone so eerie in the glow?
Why was the cross silent in the crystal hour?

I wonder what Christian future will be?
The Church closed her eyes to ignominy.

Did you hear the ominous knock at the doors?
This knock stalks through the chilling dark,
the knock of a black-garbed fist.
Sometimes one heard yells and a dog would bark.
This horror stalks• from valley to hill.
The houses are marked in village and town.
"Twas not my door. Here all was still."

I wonder what this knock has sown?
We'll know when the seed has grown.

The knock makes a woman sit up in bed,
"No one here but I and Ursula, my child."
The door has a lock, no time to be turned.
The stick in the blacked-garbed fist knocks wild.
The shining boots crush door and lock.
"In the name of the Fuehrer, you come along."
And none of the neighbors had heard this knock?

I wonder what the child has done—
a dog at her heels, and a man with a gun?

There are yells and knocks in a cattle car.
Its wheels soon move, so cold and grey.
Three starving days, two children dead.
Did you see the children hauled away?
"I saw them standing in a row.
A Red Cross nurse led them away.
hurried home; that's all I know."

I wonder: the nurse, has she balmed your eyes—
is there no conscience to analyze?

The train arrives; some children climb out,
and more pulled out by black-garbed men.
Some cry for their mother, and how they are starved.
When do they get milk and bread? When? When?
What they see are dogs and hands with whips.
The train is long, the ramp is long.
Not even water for dried out lips?

A doctor's uniform I see on the ramp.
I wonder, is this a children's camp?

The procession of children moves through an arc.
One reads above, "Work makes you free".
Do children work here? The procession moves on.
Dark smokes moves too, for all to see.
A white-dressed woman takes the lead.
What does she carry, two dolls in her hand?
The kitchen is waiting, therefore her speed.

I wonder why the dogs in the rear?
The children need food and rest, not fear.

"Come, follow me to the kitchen there."
the white-clad Frau with the dolls has a smile.
She turns her head—do they obey?
"You'll get your food in a little while.
Don't step on the lawn, don't trample the flowers.
Now enter this door. We have arrived.
And first of all, you get warm showers."

I wonder, so weak, they long for a meal.
If only the children could say what they feel?

The nurse has put smiles and dolls away.
The trousers here, the dresses there.
Here put your shoes, there put your socks.
Girls to the right, we'll cut your hair.
Quick, quick, this is no synagogue!
Now through this door to the shower room.
stop weeping, or I'll call the dog."

I wonder, her voice is that of a male.
Oh motherhood, to Hitler you hail.

Do feelings speak louder than the voice of man?
The door stands open, looks hard, steel grey,
like the doors of boxcars, pitiless heavy.
Fear grips their throats. How long will they stay
behind this door? Some gaze at the ceiling—
shower heads there? This room seems filled
with strange vibrations: The children have feeling.

I wonder: A grownup would leave in shame,
if a child could give his feeling a name.

The woman has gone; but in the rear
a sudden shoving, a vicious growl.
A little boy leaps, forward and screams.*
All throng behind. Is something wrong?
"All's ready!" For what? Their naked bodies
press toward each other. They hear a noise.

I wonder, did something crack or break?
Fumes creep about like a greenish snake.

Did you hear a noise? A call for mother?
A push against the door? A knock?
The ears are here, but not compassion,
and no survivors to take stock.
"There is order in everything we do.
Our Super Race perfects the world;
our foe the subhuman race: the Jew."

I wonder, the sacks filled with hair -- to be sold?
Efficiency rewards with gold.

Sounds of music on evening wings
dance with the smoke of the chimney stack.
The gods, black-garbed, love Mozart and Bach.
Among the subhuman there no lack
of great musicians. This tender stroke
on violins, this sounding breath on flutes
delay their bodies' change to smoke.

I wonder, does German efficiency dread
that Cosmic Justice may raise its head?

A sunray glides from cloud to chimney
and warms the flowers on the lawn
and the dolls in the hand of the nurse, white-clad.
Her work begins at early dawn.-
When the boxcar opens there jumps a child
from the ramp toward people, yells, "Mama! Mama!"
A woman stops moving; a dog gets wild.

I wonder when the thousand years
become the day the Bible fears?
the terror unleashed by Cosmic Law.

                                    William Hermanns [P093]

Note:  P093. The Knock At The Door; 1970's

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William Hermanns


Published Books

 - Click cover image

 for it's webpage:

    Einstein and the Poet - In Search of the Cosmic Man by William Hermanns -  cover
Available at Amazon

Order Kindle e-book

Order Paperback


   The Holocaust - from a Survivor of Verdun by William Hermanns - cover
Inquire on out of print books



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Einstein and the Poet - In Search of the Cosmic Man by William Hermanns -  cover The Holocaust - from a Survivor of Verdun by William Hermanns - cover


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Gedichte - German Poems


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Articles by William Hermanns (c) by William Hermanns Trust