Australian poet Les Murray’s poem ‘Dog, Fox, Field’ revolves around the confessions of those in the Nuremberg trials who stated that under Hitler’s regime, the criteria applied for assessing the right to life of children and adults with disabilities had been based entirely on their ability to make a sentence using the three specific words, dog, fox, field.
Those who could not make a sentence using all three words became the first victims of the wave of eugenics that not long after swept through Germany creating the now infamous death camps. Here is the poem.
Dog Fox Field
These were no leaders, but they were first
into the dark on Dog Fox Field:
Anna who rocked her head, and Paul
who grew big and yet giggled small,
Irma who looked Chinese, and Hans
who knew his world as a fox knows a field.
Hunted with needles, exposed, unfed,
this time in their thousands they bore sad cuts
for having gazed, and shuffled, and failed
to field the lore of prey and hound
they then had to thump and cry in the vans
that ran while stopped in Dog Fox Field.
Our sentries, whose holocaust does not end,
they show us when we cross into Dog Fox Field.
The knowledge that in a time of immense persecution it was the disabled who were the first to be targeted , provides me with several unwelcome, shocking and sobering thoughts.
Especially given the current attempts by global governments to cut funding and support to those with disabilities in our communities.
Isn’t it time our society recognized that in times of crisis, leaders have a proven propensity for first scapegoating those who are defined as different, before they move on to everyone else?
Isn’t it time we took on board this painful history lesson and changed the way our governments are doing things?
Please don’t stand quietly by while my son and all those who stand along side him risk being forced to cross into this new economic version of dog, fox, field.
- So whats in a name you may well ask? Well everything if it denotes dependence instead of independence. (seventhvoice.wordpress.com)
- Postcards from the End of the World (michaelfcrane.wordpress.com)
- Poems from ‘We’ll Sing Blackbird’, by Rebecca O’Connor (poethead.wordpress.com)