Three Poems

by Carol Schoen


They were nobodies;
two of the million
children of immigrants
from East Europe,
not artistic,
or philosophic,
or brilliant.

Born in New York
same time
as the Communist state
in Russia,  Julius and Ethel
committed their lives
to the goal of equality
for all.  They never lost faith.


Hundreds of years in Russia
as merchants, managers,
we kept order among the serfs,
dwelled in shtetls, ignored at best,
while the elite wrote scurrilous
books about us.

The Communists gave us the vote!
Imagine that!  We were citizens,
no longer aliens barely tolerated
Citizens, participants in the great dream.
We owe them.  I just wanted to help.


No one saw the scabs,
police batons hacking

at the people’s  backs.
My first job, I  was a leader
striking for workers rights;
we won few concessions.

Julius said NO!
let the people feel oppression ,
suffer till they understand
only total change,
total destruction of the old,
will bring the relief
that communism offers.

Destroy?  destroy?
More suffering?

Carol Schoen wrote her first poems for Sarah White’s study group and has been chugging along happily ever since.