A Jewish refugee, he probably came
just before the war to our North London suburb,
and stayed in our house for a while till the authorities
took him away to an internment camp,
maybe the Isle of Man,
as an ‘enemy alien’ alongside captured Nazis,
We never heard of him
again. All that remained were his books
stowed away in a cupboard in my brother’s bedroom
‘for the duration’;
a two volume Muret Sanders dictionary, three heavy tomes
of Bismarck’s Gedanken und Erinnerungen,
a Struwelpeter and other evidence of scholarship.
But now, with both my parents dead, untraceable,
no one left to ask. If he had stayed at home in Germany
there would have been meticulous documents, closure.
Christopher Levenson taught English and Creative Writing at Carleton University, Ottawa, for almost thirty years, co-founded and was first editor of Arc magazine, before moving to Vancouver in 2007. He has published twelve books of poetry, most recently, A tattered coat upon a stick (Quattro,2017) and reviews poetry regularly for the on-line Ormsby Review.