“Shoes on the Danube” and a commemorating poem by U.K. poet Frank McMahon

“In memory of those who lost their lives during the Arrow Cross rule, the ‘Shoes on the Danube’ memorial was erected on April 16, 2005. Created by film director Can Togay and sculptor Gyula Pauer, it takes the form of 60 pairs of shoes cast in iron and anchored to the ground. Different styles and sizes can be seen, showing that nobody was safe – not men, women or children. Today, candles are placed in the shoes, flowers are laid alongside them. . .” A History of Shoes on the Danube Bank, Culture Trip



Shoes, pointing in all directions
as if they could not decide which
way to go. Ahead the river,
wide and fast, its shore empty of
boats. And people. The shoes, fissured,
soiled, heels broken; children’s clogs. As

they stood in their final sunlight:
prayers? Huddles of comfort? Piss and
shit leaking onto ancient leather.
Hurled backwards, no funeral flowers
save the smoke curling from the guns,
downwards, where the Duna receives
them, cold, reddening as it flows,
mere dross and cargo. A flask of
spirits opened, a cigarette
lit, safety catches on, the world
more Judenfrei.
Shoes, now again
pointing in all directions.

© 2018, Frank McMahon

Originally published in November 2018 in the Anthology Persona Non Grata, Ed. Isabelle Kenyon.

Photo credits: Memorial courtesy of Nikodem Nijaki under C BY-SA 3.0 license; plaque courtesy of Tamas Szabo under CC BY-SA 3.0


FRANK McMAHON has professional career in Social Work in the UK. He’s had poems published on line in The Poet by Day, The BeZine, I am not a Silent Poet, Fly on the Wall, in Riggwelter; in print in BrittleStar,The Ceannon’s Mouth, Persona Non Grata, The Curlew and Cirencester Scene. His first radio play was produced this year on Corinium Radio. Frank is currently working on two more radio scripts. He just finished first draft of children’s novel and is awaiting publication of a short story.



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Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”

* The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the center of our being.” Ganga White, teacher and exponent of Yoga and founder of White Lotus, a Yoga center and retreat house in Santa Barbara, CA

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton

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