Dante’s Gate. (none fiction)
The following poem has purposely no specific form.
It is not an easy or comfortable read.
It is what it is.
Son taken from father
daughter taken from mother
brother taken from sister
family destroyed like many other.
Not too far really
but might as well be a million miles away.
There is no way back
for child, adult, doctor or lawyer.
Provision brought over to sustain life
and left at fortress door.
No chains or bars, but no escape
the only life – is a new one.
Marriage is allowed – but any child
is removed immediately, never to be
seen again, agony on agony –
in this endless pain, both physical and mental.
Dante’s gate is the point of entry, with no return
for these pitiful creatures, and is aptly named.
As they are directed through the dark tunnel,
all hope is truly abandoned.
The invincible German army, hell bent
on world domination, stopped three hundred
yards short of hell. This was their bridge too far.
No occupation here – their courage at last failed them.
What is the crime that warrants such
inhuman treatment? No crime at all,
just the misfortune to have the awful tag of
Leper attached to you.
This island place which housed those wretched souls,
living in these isolated conditions until the late fifties,
holds lepers no longer.
But its name will live forever –
The island of Spinalonga.