BUILDING A BARRICADE
We were afraid as we built the bar-ricade
The tavern-keeper, the jeweler’s mistress, the barber, all of us
The servant girl fell to the ground
as she lugged a paving stone, we were terribly afraid
all of us cowards–
the janitor, the market woman, the pensioner.
The pharmacist fell to the ground
as he dragged the door of a toilet,
we were even more afraid, the smuggler-woman,
the dress-maker the streetcar driver,
all of us cowards.
A kid from reform school fell
as he dragged a sandbag,
you see, we were really
Though no one forced us
we did build a barricade
Written thirty years after a sixty-three day uprising in Warsaw in August 1944.