Berlin-and-NY-Memorials--bw

as vast as canyons
hard as suffering, these stones
stand strong, mute, nameless

Along the borders of my summer run two shadows from the valley of death: New York's National September 11 Memorial (which I saw in June) and Berlin's Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (which I visited in September). As I watched news coverage of the moving roll call of the dead on 9/11, I couldn't help but recall how the rabbi reads names at every Jewish service in observance of Yahrzeit, on the first anniversary of the death of a congregant's relative. At the end of the list, our Reform rabbi always mentions those who have no relatives to pray for them. The haiku above is inspired by these two memorials and the losses they represent.


Ellen Girardeau KemplerEllen Girardeau Kempler is a poet, arts and travel writer, workshop leader, and marketing consultant. She regularly posts Ship's Log entries about writing, reading, travel, creativity, community, and finding balance in life.


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thank you. Ellen for these stark moving words.

I don't remember if I ever replied to your comment, but I appreciate your leaving one and hope to write more for the On Being Blog. I'm sure you don't miss an episode, either! Happy sails from Gold Boat Journeys: (Live. Write. Travel. Explore.) in unseasonably warm Laguna Beach!

Beautiful marriage of words and photographs.

lovely and moving, Ellen.

How sad to die with no relatives to pray for one. The Haiku and essay are meaningful and moving. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

powerful. thank you.

very inspiring keep it up it your such an awesome person :)
boka hus i norge

Thanks for your kind comment. Norway is one of my favorite places. I lived in Trondheim and attended school there for 6 months as a child and hope to return someday soon to the land of the Midnight Sun and the Aurora Borealis!

I have never visited both the New York's National September 11 Memorial and Berlin's Memorial. I am planning for a US visit soon. And the New York's National September 11 Memorial tops the list of places that I plan to visit there!

apples