Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. Books
18 July 2018

The Weight

The NS Poem: The Weight, in memoriam Danuta Danielsson  

By Mark Granier

An enraged woman runs across a street
to bring her handbag down, hard, on the back
of a skinhead Neo Nazi flag-bearer.

A photographer freezes her weapon in midair
just before it lands, the skinhead’s profile calm
as a new-minted hero. Looking closer,

you might guess this is a woman who knows
something about flags and backs. If you search
for what little information there is

you’ll discover she was a Polish Jew, the child
of a mother who survived Auschwitz: facts
that appear to click inevitably into place

till you read further, and the jig-saw edges
rise precipitously. The skinhead will march on
to torture and murder a gay man three years later,

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

and Danuta – who had been known
to occasionally scream at people in the street –
will jump from a water tower that same year.

Depending on how power-washed you prefer
your heroes or heroines, the handbag
will either lose its weight, become

insubstantial as an averted eye, a pursed
word, or it will gain
the gravity of a scream, a pendulum.

                                                                                                              – Växjö, Sweden, 1985

Mark Granier’s Ghostlight: New & Selected Poems was published  by Salmon Poetry in 2017.

Topics in this article :

This article appears in the 18 Jul 2018 issue of the New Statesman, The Trump-Putin pact