Dad rarely cried—
Except when he watched
World War II movies on TV,
Wept as he saw the Allies
Fight the Nazis.
First Sgt. Hymen Stein, dad’s
Youngest and beloved brother,
Had been killed in the Battle of the Bulge
While attacking a German foxhole.
Dad would always say later to me,
“I felt close to Hymen when
I watched those old movies.”
His entire Rumanian Jewish family
Had been murdered in the War.
His tears and long silences became
History lessons about being a Jew.
Then, too, dad also often mistakenly
Called me Hymen instead of Howard….

Page 12

Rage, tears, and silence;
Torrent of words and muteness—
Brutality’s ghosts appear and reappear,
Haunt generations, centuries,
Millennia—cannot, must not,
Be banished. Never forget—
One day, avenge.
Defeats and humiliations,
Loss of land, loss of pride,
Loss of place and of who we are,
Invasion and exile,
Bloodletting and extermination—
All indelibly seared as a red-glowing
Branding iron presses deep into
The flesh of our memory.
Soon, memory is no longer memory,
But modified, amplified, molded
To fit today’s needs, revised, updated,
The stuff of story, myth, legend;
Ghosts now dwell within us and
Between us, among Our People,
Long ago and now indistinguishable.
Once hunted like animals, we now
Haunt ourselves and each other—
It is our legacy now.

Page 13


Howard F. Stein

Howard F. Stein, PhD, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, has contributed many poems and articles to the Journal of Psychohistory, Clio’s Psyche, and many other print and online literary journals/magazines over many years. He authored 32 books, including recently two of poetry, as well as The Psychodynamics of Toxic Organizations: Poetry, Stories, Analysis (2020), which he co-authored with Seth Allcorn. Dr. Stein may be contacted at

How to Cite This:

Stein, H. F. (2022). Forever haunting [poem]. Clio’s Psyche, 29(1), 12-13.

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