Do Not Waste Your Time Here

by Selin Balikci

While some men are training their muscles,
A few internees are teaching the others
Everything they know in their ambitious classes.

The surreptitious typewriter’s rhythmic clicking
Is almost drowned out by the hammer hitting
A lonely coin’s metal – forming an endless ring.

Another macramé bag, finished with a strong knot,
Will be sent home to its maker’s love in the next envelop.
These are the instruments that make up

The well-rehearsed symphony
Of sounds of their tight knit community.
Suddenly a sharp shot sounds in the air and stops

The flowing melody in its tracks.
In the distance, by the fence, the dull thud
Of a still warm body can be heard.

Its slowing heartbeat’s looney tune
Echoes through the camp.
And like a spark,

Ignites and strengthens the symphonious
Melody with more purposefulness.
Ná bac leis !

Reproduced with kind permission of the author. This poem was composed in a Poetry as Commemoration workshops led by Dr. Jessica Bundschuh in University of Stuttgart in 2023.

This poem was written as a response to the September 1921 issue of the newspaper “Ná Bac Leis,” from the internees of Ballykinlar Internment Camp.