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IT CAN HAPPEN AGAIN by Ayala Zarfjian

EDITOR"S NOTE: Over a year ago, when Ayala invited me to write the Foreword for her poetry collection, titled A Corner in the World: Holocaust Poems for My Father, I never could have imagined the horrific crisis that is unfolding in Israel and the Gaza Strip today. As such, this excerpt from the Foreword becomes especially poignant now: 

Ayala's poetry speaks not only to those of Jewish ancestry, but to all others whose histories ache with ancestral genocide, war crimes, systemic racism, evil acts, etc. These bold poems are incredibly validating. They humanize victims and. . .  also set a precedent for the rest of us to start recording our own painful histories, find new ways to extract beauty from tragedy.

Inevitably intimated in the pages of this book lies the following question: What do we each need to sacrifice to prevent our species from completely losing its soul? 

In her anticipatory poem “It Can Happen Again,” Ayala echoes sobering words by holocaust survivor Primo Levi, with a ripe caution for today’s world: “Humanity has forgotten the lessons of the past. It can happen again. If we let it. It can.” Ayala’s haunting words effortlessly compel compassionate hearts to ask ourselves what we each need to sacrifice so that it not. 


by Ayala Zarfjian

“We must be listened to: above and beyond our personal experience, we have collectively witnessed a fundamental unexpected event, fundamental precisely because unexpected, not foreseen by anyone. It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say. It can happen, and it can happen everywhere.” ~Primo Levi~ 

Tender heart

the sky weeps.

Embers blazing

with fervor.

The metamorphosis has surfaced.

Times have shifted again. 

Humanity at a crossroad.

Humanity stood on the sidelines

and bore witness.

Humanity has forgotten 

the lessons of the past.

It can happen again.

If we let it.

It can.

Ayala Zarfjian is an Israeli-born American poet. The author of A Corner in the World: Holocaust Poems for My Father (Golden Dragonfly Press, 2021) and Second Chances: Poetry of a Sun-Kissed Life, winner of The Next Generation Indie Book Award. Her poems have been anthologized in Chiaroscuro, Darkness and Light: Voices from poets - dVerse Anthology (2017) and Poetry as a Spiritual Practice: Illuminating the Awakened Woman (2016).  Ayala is a mother, and a grandmother. When Ayala is not writing or designing jewelry, she loves to spend time with her children and grandchildren. Her other passions are traveling, deep-sea fishing, meditating, reading, and art. She resides with her family in Plantation, Florida, and blogs at A Sun Kissed Life.

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  1. the lament of humanity is of the lessons throughout history never being absorbed into its evolution and hence their repetition ... such sadness

  2. And it is hapening again. We are living - sadly - in a world of "Other" rather than a world of "Us." I think so many of us in the world are grieving right now, at all the suffering humankind inflicts on each other, the earth, and the non-human beings we share the world with.

  3. The power of your words in the face of the unimaginable but true blood-letting of hate and empire! Thank you. I own your book, and I am grieving and writing.

  4. Thank you for sharing such a powerful and evocative poem. "It Can Happen Again" by Ayala Zarfjian is a poignant reminder of the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.
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  5. "The author's passion for the subject is infectious. It's evident in every word, making the blog not just informative but also engaging. Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm and knowledge with us!"
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