poetry A Fragment of the Quilt
A Fragment of the Quilt
By Geoffrey Philp
Sometimes I wonder which badge
I'd have been assigned—
red for political dissidents,
black for the “Rhineland bastards,”
a yellow star as a Mischlinge, Second Degree,
or purple with the other Jehovah's Witnesses,
although they were beaten
with clubs on the other side
of the Atlantic in Klamath Falls,
Oregon, because they refused
to salute the American flag
or to kill their brothers and sisters
in Germany, who went to church
on Sundays wearing belts,
"Gott mit uns," and murdered
the helpless on Monday.
Would I have had the courage
of Wolgang Kusserow, who before
he surrendered to the fate the Fuhrer
had designed for conscientious
objectors, could write to his family,
“We know our faith will be victorious,"
and repeated Psalm 83 under his breath,
"O God, do not be silent;
Do not keep quiet or still,"
before he stepped into the courtyard
of the Brandenburg penitentiary
to face the guillotine's blade.
Born in Jamaica, Geoffrey Philp is the author of five books of poetry, two novels, two collections of short stories, and three children’s books. A recipient of the Luminary Award from the Consulate of Jamaica (2015) and a recent chair for the 2019 OCM Bocas Prize for Poetry, Philp’s work is featured on The Poetry Rail at The Betsy in an homage to 12 writers who shaped Miami culture. Through DNA testing, Philp recently discovered his Jewish ancestry and his poem, “Flying African,” has been accepted for publication in New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting the Holocaust. He is currently working on a collection of poems, “Distant Cousins.”