Sunday, March 26, 2006

And One More for Good Luck

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Much of my poetry over the years has been marked by a sadness, a melancholy or sometimes even a morbid aspect. Why? Guess 'cause much of the time when I wrote my poems I was feeling sorry for myself for one reason or other...but primarily, my poems have been Holocaust-related, and thus profoundly sad at times.

I was just published in Poetica Magazine, a Jewish poetry journal that originates in Virginia. I was notified on New Year's Day 2005 that one of my submitted poems was accepted for publication; it took until the March 2006 issue to see my name in print. (the journal is published 3 times/year).

The published poem is also somewhat sad; its setting is a Jewish cemetery. The poem is about taking my daughter to see my grandfather's grave...and the poem is true. It is just a slice of life -- a day in the life of... -- and I'm more than happy that a poetry editor in Virginia was interested to read about my slice of life, and thought that others would be interested, too.

And One More for Good Luck

It is visiting day at the Roselawn Cemetery.
I take my daughter in hand and go to his grave.
Is it wrong for me to bring a young child to this field of souls and stones?
Is it wrong for me to want her to meet her great-grandfather for the first time?

We stand before the cool granite, shaded by a maple tree.
She asks me to read the headstone.
I slowly recite the familiar words, enunciating slowly and surely so that
perhaps she will understand the meaning behind them.

I’d been a little girl, even younger than she is now,
when he was brought to his final resting place.
Thirty-eight years have passed, and the engraved message is true:
“In our hearts you live forever.”

I put a stone on the arch of the marker. She places a stone beside mine.
I put another one on the smooth granite. She adds another, and another.

“And one more…for good luck,” she exclaims,
and excitedly lifts up a rock she has found,
stretching on tiptoe to place it alongside the other, smaller stones
lined up like soldiers preparing for battle.

We step away and she looks at her artistry, beaming.

“Can I hug it?” The headstone, she means.

I shrug. “Sure, go ahead.”

And as she does so, I decide it’s a Kodak moment, but I’m sans camera
so I’ll have to etch the scene into my memory.

We walk through the cemetery gates,
leaving behind the field of souls and stones.

Later, when asked, “How was the cemetery?”
she says with much enthusiasm, “GREAT!”
And when asked why she wanted to hug the gravestone,
she replies matter-of-factly, “Because I never got to meet him.”

(Oh, and happy birthday to my brother -- you stand tall at 6'4"; you truly do stand head and shoulders above the rest in many more ways. Happy 46th birthday! Love, from your 5' 7 1/2" younger sister.)


cruisin-mom said...

CONGRATS! How frickin' long it took them! PLease find and post!!! I have no doubt it's beautiful.

cruisin-mom said...

Pearl...I love that description "the field of souls and stones"...that is incredibly moving. The whole poem is beautiful...but I'm afraid that because it has been replaced by a few other posts, that other readers may miss it. Maybe you can move it back up?

tuesdaywishes said...

This past fall, I took my kids (and my mom) to the cemetary where my mother's parents and grandparents are buried. The kids said "Kel Moleh" and Tehillim. None of my kids really got to know my mom's parents, but i know I felt them connecting then.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the force of our young ones, the guardianship of our elders.
This is true and truly told.

torontopearl said...

CM, thank you for the compliment...and advice. I linked to the post a couple posts above this one.

TW, I'd never thought it "right" to bring a 7-year-old to a cemetery but did so and realized it was okay for her, and not a frightening least not at that time.

Jeremiah, eloquent as ever... I think there's a compliment somewhere in that comment; thank you.

Sarah Likes Green said...

congrats, well done :)