Jozef Wittlin, translated by Joy Davidman
The grieving mother stood on the square -
Her dead son was hanging there.
In the frightful world the mother stood,
A servant’s kerchief on her head.
She shed no tears, she uttered no cries,
Watched the cold corpse with stone-cold eyes.
Bare-foot he dangled in the air,
They had taken his shoes before hanging him there.
The Nazis march in her son’s shoes
On the earth which they misuse.
Earth like the mother, in agony,
which, like her, waits silently.
Stabat Mater dolorosa,
Her sons were cut from the gallows tree.
She took them up, she buried her children -
In a grave as silent as she.
Stabat Mater, Poland our mother,
With her crown of thorns, by the gallows tree.