The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone …
Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ’way up high.
It went away I’m sure
because it wished
to kiss the world good-bye.
For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.
That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here,
in the ghetto.
— Pavel Friedmann
Terezín, 4 June 1942
Pavel Friedmann wrote the poem “The Butterfly” in 1942 in the Terezín Ghetto when he was 21. He was murdered in the Auschwitz extermination camp in 1944.
[Research note: original manuscript at the Jewish Museum in Prague: http://collections.jewishmuseum.cz/index.php/Detail/Object/Show/object_id/2131 ]