State of Culture/Horizon Press
The following poems by Menke Katz have been reproduced
with the permission of Professor Dovid Katz, Director
Center for Stateless Cultures
MY FATHER HEERSHE DOVID
USED TO SAY
On Old and Young
Fools are old at birth, old is the laughter
of the young bore and the voice of the toad.
Old is the gossip of the cricket, the
tattle of the telltale, the piping crow.
Old is Mammon who sees the stars diving
into busy rivers to mint rare coins.
Young are the kisses of the Song of Songs.
Young was my grandfather's last rising dream,
as he took death out of his lucky bag,
listened to the labored wind, bread scented,
operating the sails of his old mill,
grinding the ripe grain into sated flour;
blessing with the townfolk the new moon.
Young is the oldest gold of every dawn.
of ice, hushed brooks
are fettered with frost.
Chimney swifts, smoke-blinded,
join the winter moths, flutter
over burnt pentateuchs, seeking
Spring at the last sparks which refuse to
die, scintillate the ashes like rare gems.
Two brave pages (ancient sunsets yellow each
letter) find their way back through the remains of the
synagogue, cover as with the hands of cherubs the
anguished commandment: 'thou shall not kill.' Moses leaves
tablets, rises wherever the mourned dust is thirsty for tears.
Copyright © 2000 M S Rosenfeld