This Is My Father Speaking (…everywhere I look…)

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Everywhere I look…it’s Nazi, Germany.
Everywhere I look…it’s…
 
Be careful where you walk now
Be careful where you tread
The dead are down below us
Tons of earth upon their heads
 
Be careful what you say
Where you look or how you sigh
Stay silent in your prayers
Today again they passed you by
 
And the children couldn’t cry out
As the adults closed their eyes
Whether gas or guns
What did it matter?
The dead they are disguised
 
I know, I know
For the heaps that went to hide them
Were piled on by my hands
My sweat mixed with the earth,
to make this travesty of man
 
I know, I know
That their wails were also for me
As I worked so ever harder
To be left alive…to survive
To hide my shame
 
Surrounded by the hardened, the criminal
and the strong
Each day’s survival for me then
Meant another in the hole
Another hundred in the hole
Another thousand in the hole…
 
And the children couldn’t cry out
As the adults closed their eyes
Whether gas or guns
It just didn’t matter
The dead…so many…are disguised
 
Everywhere I look, it’s Nazi, Germany
Everywhere I look, it’s…
Everywhere I look…
It’s………………………..
*******************************************************************************
To listen to the music that accompanies the above lyrics: everywhere I look
Lyrics and Music (c) by Stuart Nager
“everywhere I look…” Logo by Chuck Davis

I wrote the above in early fall of 1997. My father had almost died and was in the hospital. He was a concentration camp survivor (Auschwitz), and his mental scars were always there. He said this to me: “Don’t you see? Everywhere I look, it’s Nazi, Germany.” I’m not going into the full context of this here (you’ll have to come see my play based on all this “everywhere I look…”). I did go home soon after that, and wrote those lyrics.

They went into the drawer, were taken out every now and then, and I had the music in my head from the get go. I don’t play a musical instrument, so I had musicians help me out (Thank you, Josh, Chris & Natty) to transcribe what I heard inside.

Over the years, I started to write a play around the song, dealing with true stories of what I knew of my dad, and my stories of bigotry and mass hatred that continue today. I finally “finished” the play in 2007, pushed along as I achieved my Masters in Oral Traditions. It was performed in NYC in 2010 and I am still shopping the play around to perform it elsewhere. Please contact me for more information.

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24 responses »

  1. This is very powerful and moved me deeply. A true example of how a great verse can impact us and compel us to remember, to think, to shudder at what happened in Nazi Germany, and what is happening in other parts of the world, specifically Darfur, at present.

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  2. Stuart,
    Thank you again for another beautiful piece. I love this as a poem and really want to hear it as a song. Is there a way we can hear a recording of it on the internet?
    Your father is so blessed to have you as his son!
    Take care,
    Jennifer

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  3. Stuart, I hope you find more venues for this work, as we never need to close our eyes again or be silent. How easy to be in denial and pretend that monsters don’t really exist. This is happening all over again, and that’s why your message is so needed today. History is repeating itself. http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=222367

    First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

    Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

    “No one yet knows what awaits the Jews in the twenty-first century, but we must make every effort to ensure that it is better than what befell them in the twentieth, the century of the Holocaust.” ~ Benjamin Netanyahu

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  4. WOW – thought provoking, I think it’s too easy to forget what people endured back then and it’s good to raise the awareness, for many of us we wouldn’t be here today for the others that aren’t it’s good to treasure their memory. Awesome collection, would love to see the play, will you ever make it to the UK?

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    • Hi SJ…here’s the kicker: I WAS supposed to perform this IN London last year April…when the stupid volcano in Iceland went off and grounded all flights!!! I was going to perform this for the closing first night ceremonies for the Applied Theater Conference at the School of Speech and Drama.

      The thing is, this is still not just something that happened in the past, but continues to this day (Darfur). Millions upon millions have died in genocides. Starting in 1914 with the Armenian Genocide to today, untold millions have perished because they were “other.” It is something that needs to end.

      Thank you.

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    • Danger, I KNEW you would get me on this one. I did this as an ethnodrama for my father; as a monologue/play. Still not what I prefer to write or tell on stage. I prefer fiction. I prefer to allow my imagination to take me places. Always will.

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