"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It Was a Highly Prized Letter

I'm sure. This is the letter Kurt Vonnegut wrote from P.O.W. repatriation camp, informing his family that he was still alive.

Well, the supermen marched us, without food, water or sleep to Limberg, a distance of about sixty miles, I think, where we were loaded and locked up, sixty men to each small, unventilated, un-heated box car. There were no sanitary accommodations -- the floors were covered with fresh cow dung. There wasn't room for all of us to lie down. Half slept while the other half stood.

We spent several days, including Christmas, on that Limberg siding. On Christmas eve, the Royal Air Force bombed and strafed our unmarked train. They killed about one-hundred-and-fifty of us. We got a little water Christmas Day and moved slowly across Germany to a large P.O.W. Camp in Muhlburg, South of Berlin. We were released from the box cars on New Year's Day. The Germans herded us through scalding delousing showers. Many men died from shock in the showers after ten days of starvation, thirst and exposure. But I didn't.


It's also a very moving letter, written in Pvt. Vonnegut's unmistakable style.

2 comments:

Barb said...

Hey, is that a line from Emma?

Zen of Writing said...

Yup.