“The Butterfly”

The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone. . . .

Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ‘way up high.
It went away I’m sure because it wished to
kiss the world good-bye.

For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here,
in the ghetto.

Pavel Friedman 4.6.1942

This poem is preserved in typewritten copy on thin copy paper in the collection of poetry by the poet, which was donated to the State Jewish Museum during its documentation campaign. Pavel Freidmann was born on January 7, 1921, in Prague and deported to Terezin on April 26, 1942. He died in Aushchwitz on September 29, 1944.