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All the Colorful Wildflowers (and the humans who witness them)

On recalling a visit to Dachau in the Spring of 2001

By Philip CanterburyPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 1 min read
Top Story - October 2023
All the Colorful Wildflowers (and the humans who witness them)
Photo by DAVIDCOHEN on Unsplash

Thinking of Dachau;

how, sixty years on, blossoms

burst from the blood ditch.

Grief fades to anger.

Rage terrorizes victims.

War cries repeal love.

In the heavy fog,

they will disappear, unseen,

in a ditch somewhere.

Only they return,

volunteered, as wildflowers.

Petaled in pastels.

No papers needed;

no permits to return now.

Just to give solace

to a passerby;

a visitor on a tour,

witnessing ovens,

sixty years after.

But my memory of it,

Dachau, grows rusty.

It is happening

again. Only different.

Never again… but…

Without contrition,

it is explained, justified,

nothing new, they say.

Like mowing the grass

rising between flowers just

beyond the smart fence.

surreal poetrysocial commentarysad poetrynature poetrylove poemsinspirationalheartbreakCONTENT WARNINGart

About the Creator

Philip Canterbury

Storyteller and published historian crafting fiction and nonfiction.

2022 Vocal+ Fiction Awards Finalist [Chaos Along the Arroyo].

Top Story - October 2023 [All the Colorful Wildflowers].

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (25)

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  • Novel Allen4 months ago

    Is it not strange that the mistakes of the past keep raising their awful heads. How some stupid leaders are freely butchering their own people, then they die and leave such misery in their wake. Do we ever change...are we doomed. I found this poem when it needed to be found, wonderful it is too. Kudos.

  • Mother Combs4 months ago


  • so powerful, great work. Congrats!

  • Abdullah4 months ago

    I amazed after reading this

  • I keep thinking about the lines, "blossoms / burst from the blood ditch". What a powerful poem. Well done!

  • Naveed 4 months ago

    Congratulations on achieving top story status! ❤️

  • StoryholicFinds4 months ago

    Love it! ❤️

  • Rachel Deeming4 months ago

    Just read Caroline Jane's comment below and will simply say: ditto.

  • Powerful words

  • Angie Anh4 months ago

    Perfect poem for telling about a period of war. The tone and the words have been chosen wonderfully, have shed tears and loving kindness to my heart, Sincerely,

  • Sugan Ya 4 months ago

    Amazing poem...! Congratulations on the TS

  • Muhammed Ismail4 months ago

    It doesn't need to the human wet them ... I love the wild live very much 😻

  • Andrew C McDonald4 months ago

    Wow. This is deep and sublime. Your handling of this subject is masterful. Great job.

  • Caroline Jane4 months ago

    I just had to sit and hold this poem. How you have laced such a complex range of emotions together, juxtaposing them so they become more acute amongst each other is touchingly beautiful. This is written from a heart alive with empathy and artistry. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Diani Alvarenga4 months ago

    Beautiful poem!

  • Congratulations 🎉 Nice Job On This Piece♥️💯😉📝🎉✌️

  • Cyrus4 months ago

    Love the usage of short syntax coupled with end stop lines, gives a rather poignant and straightforward tone to it!

  • Adrian Wordsmith4 months ago

    Your poem poignantly addresses the horrors of history and how they can sometimes fade into collective memory, even as similar tragedies unfold in different forms. The verses evoke the haunting legacy of places like Dachau and the struggle to remember and understand the atrocities. The shift from grief to anger and the idea of wildflowers returning to a place of sorrow create powerful images of resilience and the persistence of memory. The poem is a poignant reminder of the importance of never forgetting and the need for contrition in the face of injustice. Well done! 🌺📜🌟

  • Suze Kay4 months ago

    Philip, this poem is beautiful and moving. I visited Dachau in the early 2000s as well, and was struck by the people there: school groups acting with such disrespect and impunity for the ground they walked on. It made me sad. This poem also made me sad, but in a better way.

  • Mackenzie Davis4 months ago

    "But my memory of it, Dachau, grows rusty. It is happening again. Only different. Never again… but… Without contrition, it is explained, justified, nothing new, they say." Damn, Philip, just amazing. Really emotional piece.

  • Cathy holmes4 months ago

    This is an amazing piece. Congrats on the TS.

  • Patrick M. Ohana4 months ago

    Yes, it began to happen again, but it was quickly stopped. A timely and poignant piece!

  • Alivia Varvel4 months ago

    What a powerful piece. “It is happening again. Only different.” So much is being said in those few words.

  • This was so heartbreaking and tragic. A very poignant poem!

  • Lana V Lynx4 months ago

    This is deep. Made me think about unimaginable cruelty people can exert on each other.

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