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Michael R Burch Jul 2020
Excerpts from “Travels with Einstein”
by Michael R. Burch

for Trump

I went to Berlin to learn wisdom
from Adolph. The wild spittle flew
as he screamed at me, with great conviction:
“Please despise me! I look like a Jew!”

So I flew off to ’Nam to learn wisdom
from tall Yankees who cursed “yellow” foes.
“If we lose this small square,” they informed me,
earth’s nations will fall, dominoes!”

I then sat at Christ’s feet to learn wisdom,
but his Book, from its genesis to close,
said: “Men can enslave their own brothers!”
(I soon noticed he lacked any clothes.)

So I traveled to bright Tel Aviv
where great scholars with lofty IQs
informed me that (since I’m an Arab)
I’m unfit to lick dirt from their shoes.

At last, done with learning, I stumbled
to a well where the waters seemed sweet:
the mirage of American “justice.”
There I wept a real sea, in defeat.

Originally published by Café Dissensus

Keywords/Tags: Einstein, Adolph, ******, Berlin, Jew, Jews, Arab, Arabs, Palestinian, Palestinians, Vietnam, Vietnamese, American, Americans, Yankees, Domino, Theory, Dominoes, Jesus, Christ, Bible, Christian, Christianity, Slave, Slaves, Slavery, Israel, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv
ogdiddynash Oct 2020
the jew in you,
something
you long suspected,
or long lamented.

too bad,
the absence of
this moniker if it  
ain’t applicable directly
to your sorry ***.

after all who doesn’t
want to be among the
ch-ch-chosen peeps?

this blessing
in disguise,
it’s very special
to be hated by
almost,
everyone.

hatred,,
the great equalizer,
highlighting your
choicest features
race, gender, roman nose,
etc., etc., etc.

but like the song said,
though somebody may
hate unlucky you,
everybody, no exceptions,
hates the jews.

everyone knows
the jews own the banks.
everybody hates the banks
who leave you on hold,
leaving you, wondering why,
they won’t give you back
at the ATM, the good money
you lent them,
so you must be
minimum 10%
shrewish (shhhh-jewish) or
whaat! why?

yup, your deposit is
a liability on their books,
(they owe it back to you)
so you too are
a moneylender,
congrats!

welcome to the club,
the club of being
a liability.

we jews travel
around the world,
chased out from
almost everywhere.

so we invented the
around-world-cruise,
and the world gave
us steerage class
to remind us,
even the jew in you,
that’s OUR special place.


postscript:
(All) Jewish Lives Matter!
Oy!
(don’t get me started...)
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
Miklos Radnoti [1909-1944], a Hungarian Jew and a fierce anti-fascist, is perhaps the greatest of the Holocaust poets. His often-harrowing bio appears after his poems. The "postcard" poems were written on a death march that ended with him being executed and buried in a mass grave.

Postcard 1
by Miklós Radnóti, written August 30, 1944
translation by Michael R. Burch

Out of Bulgaria, the great wild roar of the artillery thunders,
resounds on the mountain ridges, rebounds, then ebbs into silence
while here men, beasts, wagons and imagination all steadily increase;
the road whinnies and bucks, neighing; the maned sky gallops;
and you are eternally with me, love, constant amid all the chaos,
glowing within my conscience—incandescent, intense.
Somewhere within me, dear, you abide forever—
still, motionless, mute, like an angel stunned to silence by death
or a beetle hiding in the heart of a rotting tree.



Postcard 2
by Miklós Radnóti, written October 6, 1944 near Crvenka, Serbia
translation by Michael R. Burch

A few miles away they're incinerating
the haystacks and the houses,
while squatting here on the fringe of this pleasant meadow,
the shell-shocked peasants sit quietly smoking their pipes.
Now, here, stepping into this still pond, the little shepherd girl
sets the silver water a-ripple
while, leaning over to drink, her flocculent sheep
seem to swim like drifting clouds.



Postcard 3
by Miklós Radnóti, written October 24, 1944 near Mohács, Hungary
translation by Michael R. Burch

The oxen dribble ****** spittle;
the men pass blood in their ****.
Our stinking regiment halts, a horde of perspiring savages,
adding our aroma to death's repulsive stench.



Published: “Postcard 4” was published by Poetry Super Highway in 2019 as part of their 21st Annual Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Poetry Issue

Postcard 4
by Miklós Radnóti, his final poem, written October 31, 1944 near Szentkirályszabadja, Hungary
translation by Michael R. Burch

I toppled beside him—his body already taut,
tight as a string just before it snaps,
shot in the back of the head.
"This is how you’ll end too; just lie quietly here,"
I whispered to myself, patience blossoming from dread.
"Der springt noch auf," the voice above me jeered;
I could only dimly hear
through the congealing blood slowly sealing my ear.

Translator's note: "Der springt noch auf" means something like "That one is still twitching."



Letter to My Wife
by Miklós Radnóti
translated by Michael R. Burch

This is a poem written during the Holocaust in Lager Heidenau, in the mountains above Zagubica, August-September, 1944

Deep down in the darkness hell awaits—silent, mute.
Silence screams in my ears, so I shout,
but no one hears or answers, wherever they are;
while sad Serbia, astounded by war,
and you are so far,
so incredibly distant.

Still my heart encounters yours in my dreams
and by day I hear yours sound in my heart again;
and so I am still, even as the great mountain
ferns slowly stir and murmur around me,
coldly surrounding me.

When will I see you? How can I know?
You who were calm and weighty as a Psalm,
beautiful as a shadow, more beautiful than light,
the One I could always find, whether deaf, mute, blind,
lie hidden now by this landscape; yet from within
you flash on my sight like flickering images on film.

You once seemed real but now have become a dream;
you have tumbled back into the well of teenage fantasy.
I jealously question whether you'll ever adore me;
whether—speak!—
from youth's highest peak
you will yet be my wife.

I become hopeful again,
as I awaken on this road where I formerly had fallen.
I know now that you are my wife, my friend, my peer—
but, alas, so far! Beyond these three wild frontiers,
fall returns. Will you then depart me?
Yet the memory of our kisses remains clear.

Now sunshine and miracles seem disconnected things.
Above me I see a bomber squadron's wings.
Skies that once matched your eyes' blue sheen
have clouded over, and in each infernal machine
the bombs writhe with their lust to dive.
Despite them, somehow I remain alive.

Miklós Radnóti [1909-1944], a Hungarian Jew and a fierce anti-fascist, is perhaps the greatest of the Holocaust poets. He was born in Budapest in 1909. In 1930, at the age of 21, he published his first collection of poems, Pogány köszönto (Pagan Salute). His next book, Újmódi pásztorok éneke (Modern Shepherd's Song) was confiscated on grounds of "indecency," earning him a light jail sentence. In 1931 he spent two months in Paris, where he visited the "Exposition coloniale" and began translating African poems and folk tales into Hungarian. In 1934 he obtained his Ph.D. in Hungarian literature. The following year he married Fanni (Fifi) Gyarmati; they settled in Budapest. His book Járkálj csa, halálraítélt! (Walk On, Condemned!) won the prestigious Baumgarten Prize in 1937. Also in 1937 he wrote his Cartes Postales (Postcards from France), which were precurors to his darker images of war, Razglednicas (Picture Postcards). During World War II, Radnóti published translations of Virgil, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Eluard, Apollinare and Blaise Cendras in Orpheus nyomában. From 1940 on, he was forced to serve on forced labor battalions, at times arming and disarming explosives on the Ukrainian front. In 1944 he was deported to a compulsory labor camp near Bor, Yugoslavia. As the Nazis retreated from the approaching Russian army, the Bor concentration camp was evacuated and its internees were led on a forced march through Yugoslavia and Hungary. During what became his death march, Radnóti recorded poetic images of what he saw and experienced. After writing his fourth and final "Postcard," Radnóti was badly beaten by a soldier annoyed by his scribblings. Soon thereafter, the weakened poet was shot to death, on November 9, 1944, along with 21 other prisoners who unable to walk. Their mass grave was exhumed after the war and Radnóti's poems were found on his body by his wife, inscribed in pencil in a small Serbian exercise book. Radnóti's posthumous collection, Tajtékos ég (Clouded Sky, or Foaming Sky) contains odes to his wife, letters, poetic fragments and his final Postcards. Unlike his murderers, Miklós Radnóti never lost his humanity, and his empathy continues to live on and shine through his work.

Keywords/Tags: Miklos Radnoti, Holocaust poet, Hungary, Hungarian Jew, anti-fascist, translation, mrbholo



Death Fugue
by Paul Celan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Black milk of daybreak, we drink you come dusk;
we drink you come midday, come morning, come night;
we drink you and drink you.
We’re digging a grave like a hole in the sky;
there’s sufficient room to lie there.
The man of the house plays with vipers; he writes
in the Teutonic darkness, “Your golden hair Margarete...”
He composes by starlight, whistles hounds to stand by,
whistles Jews to dig graves, where together they’ll lie.
He commands us to strike up bright tunes for the dance!

Black milk of daybreak, we drink you come dusk;
we drink you come dawn, come midday, come night;
we drink you and drink you.
The man of the house plays with serpents; he writes...
he writes as the night falls, “Your golden hair Margarete...
Your ashen hair Shulamith...”
We are digging dark graves where there’s more room, on high.
His screams, “Hey you, dig there!” and “Hey you, sing and dance!”
He grabs his black nightstick, his eyes pallid blue,
screaming, “Hey you―dig deeper! You others―sing, dance!”

Black milk of daybreak, we drink you come dusk;
we drink you come midday, come morning, come night;
we drink you and drink you.
The man of the house writes, “Your golden hair Margarete...
Your ashen hair Shulamith...” as he cultivates snakes.
He screams, “Play Death more sweetly! Death’s the master of Germany!”
He cries, “Scrape those dark strings, soon like black smoke you’ll rise
to your graves in the skies; there’s sufficient room for Jews there!”

Black milk of daybreak, we drink you come midnight;
we drink you come midday; Death’s the master of Germany!
We drink you come dusk; we drink you and drink you...
He’s a master of Death, his pale eyes deathly blue.
He fires leaden slugs, his aim level and true.
He writes as the night falls, “Your golden hair Margarete...”
He unleashes his hounds, grants us graves in the skies.
He plays with his serpents; Death’s the master of Germany...

“Your golden hair Margarete...
your ashen hair Shulamith...”



O, Little Root of a Dream
by Paul Celan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

O, little root of a dream
you enmire me here;
I’m undermined by blood―
made invisible,
death's possession.

Touch the curve of my face,
that there may yet be an earthly language of ardor,
that someone else’s eyes
may somehow still see me,
though I’m blind,

here where you
deny me voice.



You Were My Death
by Paul Celan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You were my death;
I could hold you
when everything abandoned me―
even breath.



Primo Levi Holocaust Poem Translations

Shema
by Primo Levi
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You who live secure
in your comfortable homes,
who return each evening to find
warm food and welcoming faces...

Consider: is this a 'man'
who slogs through the mud,
who knows no peace,
who fights for crusts of bread,
who dies at another man's whim,
at his 'yes' or his 'no.'

Consider: is this is a 'woman'
bald and bereft of a name
because she lacks the strength to remember,
her eyes as void and her womb as frigid
as a winter frog's.

Consider that such horrors have indeed been!

I commend these words to you.
Engrave them in your hearts
when you lounge in your beds
and again when you rise,
when you venture outside.
Repeat them to your children,
or may your houses crumble
and disease render you helpless
so that even your offspring avert their eyes.



Buna
by Primo Levi
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Mangled feet, cursed earth,
the long interminable line in the gray morning
as Buna smokes corpses through industrious chimneys...

Another gray day like every other day awaits us.

The terrible whistle shrilly announces dawn:
'Rise, wretched multitudes, with your lifeless faces,
welcome the monotonous hell of the mud...
another day's suffering has begun! '

Weary companion, I know you well.

I see your dead eyes, my disconsolate friend.
In your breast you bear the burden of cold, deprivation, emptiness.
Life long ago broke what remained of the courage within you.

Colorless one, you once were a real man;
a considerable woman once accompanied you.

But now, my invisible companion, you lack even a name.
So forsaken, you are unable to weep.
So poor in spirit, you can no longer grieve.
So tired, your flesh can no longer shiver with fear...

My once-strong man, now spent,
were we to meet again
in some other world, beneath some sunnier sun,
with what unfamiliar faces would we recognize each other?

Note: Buna was the largest Auschwitz sub-camp, with around 40,000 'workers' who had been enslaved by the Nazis. Primo Levi called the Jews of Buna the 'slaves of slaves' because the other slaves outranked them.



Ber Horowitz Holocaust Poetry Translations

Der Himmel
'The Heavens'
by Ber Horvitz
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

These skies
are leaden, heavy, gray...
I long for a pair
of deep blue eyes.

The birds have fled
far overseas;
Tomorrow I'll migrate too,
I said...

These gloomy autumn days
it rains and rains.
Woe to the bird
Who remains...



Doctorn
'Doctors'
by Ber Horvitz
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Early this morning I bandaged
the lilac tree outside my house;
I took thin branches that had broken away
and patched their wounds with clay.

My mother stood there watering
her window-level flower bed;
The morning sun, quite motherly,
kissed us both on our heads!

What a joy, my child, to heal!
Finished doctoring, or not?
The eggs are nicely poached
And the milk's a-boil in the ***.



Broit
'Bread'
by Ber Horvitz
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Night. Exhaustion. Heavy stillness. Why?
On the hard uncomfortable floor the exhausted people lie.

Flung everywhere, scattered over the broken theater floor,
the exhausted people sleep. Night. Late. Too tired to snore.

At midnight a little boy cries wildly into the gloom:
'Mommy, I'm afraid! Let's go home! '

His mother, reawakened into this frightful place,
presses her frightened child even closer to her breast …

'If you cry, I'll leave you here, all alone!
A little boy must sleep... this, now, is our new home.'

Night. Exhaustion. Heavy stillness all around,
exhausted people sleeping on the hard ground.



'My Lament'
by Ber Horvitz
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Nothingness enveloped me
as tender green toadstools
lie blanketed by snow
with its thick, heavy prayer shawl …
After that, nothing could hurt me …



Wladyslaw Szlengel Holocaust Poem Translation

Excerpts from 'A Page from the Deportation Diary'
by Wladyslaw Szlengel
translation by Michael R. Burch

I saw Janusz Korczak walking today,
leading the children, at the head of the line.
They were dressed in their best clothes—immaculate, if gray.
Some say the weather wasn't dismal, but fine.

They were in their best jumpers and laughing (not loud) ,
but if they'd been soiled, tell me—who could complain?
They walked like calm heroes through the haunted crowd,
five by five, in a whipping rain.

The pallid, the trembling, watched high overhead,
through barely cracked windows—pale, transfixed with dread.

And now and then, from the high, tolling bell
a strange moan escaped, like a sea gull's torn cry.
Their 'superiors' looked on, their eyes hard as stone.
So let us not flinch, as they march on, to die.

Footfall... then silence... the cadence of feet...
O, who can console them, their last mile so drear?
The church bells peal on, over shocked Leszno Street.
Will Jesus Christ save them? The high bells career.

No, God will not save them. Nor you, friend, nor I.
But let us not flinch, as they march on, to die.

No one will offer the price of their freedom.
No one will proffer a single word.
His eyes hard as gavels, the silent policeman
agrees with the priest and his terrible Lord:
'Give them the Sword! '

At the town square there is no intervention.
No one tugs Schmerling's sleeve. No one cries
'Rescue the children! ' The air, thick with tension,
reeks with the odor of *****, and lies.

How calmly he walks, with a child in each arm:
Gut Doktor Korczak, please keep them from harm!

A fool rushes up with a reprieve in hand:
'Look Janusz Korczak—please look, you've been spared! '
No use for that. One resolute man,
uncomprehending that no one else cared
enough to defend them,
his choice is to end with them.



Ninety-Three Daughters of Israel
a Holocaust poem by Chaya Feldman
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We washed our bodies
and cleansed ourselves;
we purified our souls
and became clean.

Death does not terrify us;
we are ready to confront him.

While alive we served God
and now we can best serve our people
by refusing to be taken prisoner.

We have made a covenant of the heart,
all ninety-three of us;
together we lived and learned,
and now together we choose to depart.

The hour is upon us
as I write these words;
there is barely enough time to transcribe this prayer...

Brethren, wherever you may be,
honor the Torah we lived by
and the Psalms we loved.

Read them for us, as well as for yourselves,
and someday when the Beast
has devoured his last prey,
we hope someone will say Kaddish for us:
we ninety-three daughters of Israel.

Amen

In 1943 Meir Shenkolevsky, the secretary of the world Bais Yaakov movement and a member of the Central Committee of Agudas Israel in New York, received a letter from Chaya Feldman: 'I don't know when you will get this letter and if you still will remember me. When this letter arrives, I will no longer be alive. In a few hours, everything will be past. We are here in four rooms,93 girls ages 14 to 22, all of us Bais Yaakov teachers. On July 27, Gestapo agents came, took us out of our apartment and threw us into a dark room. We only have water to drink. The younger girls are very frightened, but I comfort them that in a short while, we will be together with our mother Sara [Sara Shnirer, the founder of the Bais Yaakov Seminary]. Yesterday they took us out, washed us and took all our clothes. They left us only shirts and said that today, German soldiers will come to visit us. We all swore to ourselves that we will die together. The Germans don't know that the bath they gave us was the immersion before our deaths: we all prepared poison. When the soldiers come, we will drink the poison. We are all saying Viduy throughout the day. We are not afraid of anything. We only have one request from you: Say Kaddish for 93 bnos Yisroel! Soon we will be with our mother Sara. Signed, Chaya Feldman from Cracow.'



Miryam Ulinover Holocaust Poetry Translations

Girl Without Soap
by Miryam Ulinover
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

As I sat so desolate,
threadbare with poverty,
the inspiration came to me
to make a song of my need!

My blouse is heavy with worries,
so now it's time to wash:
the weave's become dull yellow
close to my breast.

It wrings my brain with old worries
and presses it down like a canker.
If only some kind storekeeper
would give me detergent on credit!

But no, he did not give it!
Instead, he was stiffer than starch!
Despite my dark, beautiful eyes
he remained aloof and arch.

I am estranged from fresh white wash;
my laundry's gone gray with old dirt;
but my body still longs to sing the song
of a clean and fresh white shirt.



Meydl on Kam
Girl Without Comb
by Miryam Ullinover
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The note preceding the poem:
'Sitting where the night makes its nest
are my songs like boarders, awaiting flight's quests.'

The teeth of the comb are broken
A comb is necessary―more necessary than bread.
O, who will come to comb my braid,
or empty the gray space occupying my head?

Note: the second verse of 'Meydl on Kam' is mostly unreadable and the last two lines are missing.
After that, nothing could hurt me …



Yitzkhak Viner Holocaust Poem Translations

Let it be Quiet in my Room!
by Yitzkhak Viner
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Let it be quiet in my room!
Let me hear the birds outside singing,
And let their innocent trilling
Lull away my heart's interior gloom…

Listen, outside, drayman's horse and cart,
If you scare the birds away,
You will wake me from my dream-play
And wring the last drop of joy from my heart…

Don't cough mother! Father, no words!
It'd be a shame to spoil the calm
And silence the sweet-sounding balm
of the well-fed little birds…

Hush, little sisters and brothers! Be strong!
Don't weep and cry for drink and food;
Try to remember in silence the good.
Please do not disturb my weaving of songs…



My Childhood
by Yitzkhak Viner
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

In the years of my childhood, in Balut's yards,
Living with my parents in an impoverished day,
I remember my hunger; with my friends I would play
And bake loaves of bread out of muddy clay…

By baking mud-breads, we dreamed away hunger:
the closest and worst of the visitors kids know;
so passed the summer's heat through the gutters,
so winters passed with their freezing snow.

Outside today all is gray, sunk in snow,
Though the roofs and the gate are silvered and white.
I lie on a bed warmed now only by rags
and look through grim windows brightened by ice.

Father left early to try to find work;
In an unlit room I and my mother stay.
It's cold, we're hungry, we have nothing to eat:
How I lust to bake one tiny bread-loaf of clay…

Balut (Baluty)   was a poor Jewish suburb of Lodz, Poland which became a segregated ghetto under the Nazis.



It Is Good to Have Two Eyes
by Yitzkhak Viner
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I.

It is good to have two eyes.
Anything I want, they can see:
Boats, trains, horses and cars,
everything around me.

But sometimes I just want to see
Someone's laughter, sweet…
Instead I see his corpse outstretched,
Lying in the street…

When I want to see his laughter
his eyes are closed forever…

II.

It is good to have two ears.
Anything I want, they can hear:
Songs, plays, concerts, kind words,
Street cars, bells, anything near.

I want to hear kids' voices sing,
but my ears only hear the shrill cries
and fear
of two children watching a man as he dies…

When I long for a youthful song
I hear children weeping hard and long…

III.

It is good to have two hands.
Every year I can till the land.
Banging iron night and day
Fashions wheels to plow the clay…

But now wheels are silent and still
And people's hands are obsolete;
The houses grow cold and dark
As hands dig a grave in defeat…

Still it is good to have two hands:
I write poems in which the truth still stands.



After My Death
by Chaim Nachman Bialik
translation by Michael R. Burch

Say this when you eulogize me:
Here was a man — now, ****, he's gone!
He died before his time.
The music of his life suddenly ground to a halt..
Such a pity! There was another song in him, somewhere,
But now it's lost,
forever.
What a pity! He had a violin,
a living, voluble soul
to which he uttered
the secrets of his heart,
setting its strings vibrating,
save the one he kept inviolate.
Back and forth his supple fingers danced;
one string alone remained mesmerized,
yet unheard.
Such a pity!
All his life the string quivered,
quavering silently,
yearning for its song, its mate,
as a heart saddens before its departure.
Despite constant delays it waited daily,
mutely beseeching its savior, Love,
who lingered, loitered, tarried incessantly
and never came.
Great is the pain!
There was a man — now, ****, he is no more!
The music of his life suddenly interrupted.
There was another song in him
But now it is lost
forever.



Chaim Nachman Bialik Holocaust Poem Translations

On The Slaughter
by Chaim Nachman Bialik
translation by Michael R. Burch

Merciful heavens, have pity on me!
If there is a God approachable by men
as yet I have not found him—
Pray for me!

For my heart is dead,
prayers languish upon my tongue,
my right hand has lost its strength
and my hope has been crushed, undone.

How long? Oh, when will this nightmare end?
How long? Hangman, traitor,
here's my neck—
rise up now, and slaughter!

Behead me like a dog—your arm controls the axe
and the whole world is a scaffold to me
though we—the chosen few—
were once recipients of the Pacts.

Executioner! , my blood's a paltry prize—
strike my skull and the blood of innocents will rain
down upon your pristine uniform again and again,
staining your raiment forever.

If there is Justice—quick, let her appear!
But after I've been blotted out, should she reveal her face,
let her false scales be overturned forever
and the heavens reek with the stench of her disgrace.

You too arrogant men, with your cruel injustice,
suckled on blood, unweaned of violence:
cursed be the warrior who cries 'Avenge! ' on a maiden;
such vengeance was never contemplated even by Satan.

Let innocents' blood drench the abyss!
Let innocents' blood seep down into the depths of darkness,
eat it away and undermine
the rotting foundations of earth.



Epitaph for a Palestinian Child
by Michael R. Burch

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.



Hear, O Israel!
by Erich Fried
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

When we were the oppressed,
I was one with you,
but how can we remain one
now that you have become the oppressor?

Your desire
was to become powerful, like the nations
who murdered you;
now you have, indeed, become like them.

You have outlived those
who abused you;
so why does their cruelty
possess you now?

You also commanded your victims:
'Remove your shoes! '
Like the scapegoat,
you drove them into the wilderness,
into the great mosque of death
with its burning sands.
But they would not confess the sin
you longed to impute to them:
the imprint of their naked feet
in the desert sand
will outlast the silhouettes
of your bombs and tanks.

So hear, O Israel …
hear the whimpers of your victims
echoing your ancient sufferings …

'Hear, O Israel! ' was written in 1967, after the Six Day War.



What It Is
by Erich Fried
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

It is nonsense
says reason.
It is what it is
says Love.

It is a dangerous
says discretion.
It is terrifying
says fear.
It is hopeless
says insight.
It is what it is
says Love.

It is ludicrous
says pride.
It is reckless
says caution.
It is impractical
says experience.
It is what it is
says Love.



An Attempt
by Erich Fried
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I have attempted
while working
to think only of my work
and not of you,
but I am encouraged
to have been so unsuccessful.



Humorless
by Erich Fried
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The boys
throw stones
at the frogs
in jest.

The frogs
die
in earnest.



Bulldozers
by Erich Fried
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Israel's bulldozers
have confirmed their kinship
to bulldozers in Beirut
where the bodies of massacred Palestinians
lie buried under the rubble of their former homes.

And it has been reported
that in the heart of Israel
the Memorial Cemetery
for the massacred dead of Deir Yassin
has been destroyed by bulldozers...
'Not intentional, ' it's said,
'A slight oversight during construction work.'

Also the ******
of the people of Sabra and Shatila
shall become known only as an oversight
in the process of building a great Zionist power.

The villagers of Deir Yassin were massacred in 1948 by Israeli Jews operating under the command of future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin's. The New York Times reported 254 villagers murdered, most of them women, children and elderly men. Later, the village cemetery was destroyed by Israeli bulldozers as Deir Yassin, like hundreds of other Palestinian villages, was destroyed.

Sabra and Shatila in Beirut, Lebanon were two Palestinian refugee camps destroyed during Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It has been estimated that as many as 3,500 people were murdered. In 1982, an International Commission concluded that Israelis were, directly or indirectly, responsible. The Israeli government established the Kahan Commission to investigate the massacre, and found another future Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, personally responsible for having permitted militias to enter the camps despite a risk of violence against the refugees.

Since 1967 the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions has reported more than 24,000 home demolitions... hence the 'kinship' of the bulldozers of Israel to those used to destroy Palestinian homes in Lebanon.



Credo
by Saul Tchernichovsky
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Laugh at all my silly dreams!
Laugh, and I'll repeat anew
that I still believe in man,
just as I believe in you.

By the passion of man's spirit
ancient bonds are being shed:
for his heart desires freedom
as the body does its bread.

My noble soul cannot be led
to the golden calf of scorn,
for I still believe in man,
as every child is human-born.

Life and love and energy
in our hearts will surge and beat,
till our hopes bring forth a heaven
from the earth beneath our feet.
Anya Mar 2020
His hands shake as they grip the edge of the bima.

It was not always like this. Once
His fingers tapped spry and nimble,
His knuckles did not gnarl and swell,
Spots dotted his face in freckles and not his skin as it aged.
His right knee twinges. He swallows dry.
Perhaps he should visit a doctor.  It is not wise, they tell him,
For a man his age to continue his work under such pressure -- he simply laughs it off.
Pah. Meshugge, you are.
He maintains, he will manage, his kind were built to endure.

His kind have walked miles in red sand that burned the soles of their feet.
His kind have strained their eyes to see the hazy shape of hope
In lamplight that burned eight days too long;
His kind stood tall in front of kings and pharaohs and Führers
That ordered them to kneel, bow, lay dead, rot beneath ten feat of Earth.
His kind broke their backs to remain steady on their own two feet --
Who is he to fail them by resting now?

He can certainly stand on a bima, facing a congregation that has come to expect
The sound of his voice, passion in his words,
The life in his eyes glowing behind a cloud of cataracts
(I do not need to see, he claims, to recite the words of Hashem; I read with my heart.)
Like candles through a foggy window,
Tinted glass distorted,
Faint chanting ringing from within.

Kol Nidrei.
He had to break fast this morning -- God forgive me, I did not want to --
I’d rather have died. But pills must be taken.
He scans his audience and knows others must have taken pills of their own:
They are old. No one lives forever.
His joints ache as theirs do,
They too feel the weight of seventy, eighty years settled in their bones
Like rocks, like sediment,  
Shifting with the current of the river that teems above them.
Such is the will of God.
They will be carried upstream when their time comes.

Ve’esarei, ush’vuei,
A glass of water rests on the floor at his feet,
Already half drained --
Droplets still sit moist on his lips.
Vacharamei, vekonamei,
He is a humble man, as all of Hashem’s servants should be --
He is blessed with dexterity unusual for his age.
He has no cause to complain, and yet even on the day of atonement,
Deep within his chest burns pride.
He is scared.
Vekinusei, vechinuyei,
Adonai, please,
Give me the strength.
I know why I hesitate.

He fears his voice will catch in his throat --
Will waver, will break to cough,
That the silver in his tone has tarnished,
That his pitch will strain, fall flat,
That his voice is not fit to sing God’s words,
That this chant will be his last.
That he will have to stop.

Kol Nidrei. All Vows.
He is nothing but a man. He is a mouthpiece for the words that pour out of him,
That float through the synagogue as they’ve floated for years upon years.
If he silences himself, he has no purpose.
If he silences himself, he is already unfit to sing God’s words.
He must begin without fear:
His kind know how to endure without fear. It is in their blood.
His mournful voice sings for them.
He takes a breath. The congregation holds theirs.

Kol Nidrei.
Ve’esarei, ush’vuei, vacharamei, vekonamei, vekinusei, vechinuyei.
Prohibitions, oaths, consecrations, vows that we may vow --
His voice is his vow.
He vows his life, the rest of his year, however many those may be, he pledges all of them,
That he may stand before his people in front of him,
And sing to his people that lived behind him.
Kol Nidrei.
All vows.
His voice soars and echoes off of the ceiling of the synagogue.
TIZZOP Dec 2019
"i don't want to rule or conquer anyone;
  i should like to help everyone if possible —
  jew, gentile, black man, white
  we all want to help one another;
  human beings are like that."

charlie chaplin wrote these words for
"the great dictator" a political satire  
the nazis didn't want to hear anymore
but the dictator's speech went viral

in a wehrmacht's cinema, partisans of tito
made fun of ****** and exchanged
a propaganda-film for chaplin's video
an audience of nazis raged

a flash of fun in a "*****" led by
insane murderers on stimulants

*

mr. chaplin i do thank you for
your outcry emerging from
human tragedy.

good bye...

R.I.P. Charles Spencer Chaplin
✞ December 25th 1977

God bless you.
Today is a good day.

YouTube:

"[Beste Version] Der große Diktator - Rede von Charlie Chaplin + Time - Hans Zimmer (INCEPTION Theme)"

"Xavier Naidoo - Der Fels // Allein Mit Flügel - Live aus dem Mannheimer Schloss"
Mark Oct 2019
Was Jesus an impersonator
Or the original son of the creator
Did he steal ones name
Then get all the credit and fame
Lying about
Hanging about
Lazily wandering about
The non factual stuff he was saying
No wonder we still have heaps of doubt
Maybe, he could tell a great bedtime story
If so, did he copyright it all
And will he sue for defamation
Or was he just like the rest
Just after all the worlds glory
While I inside hiding
The real source of his information
All things come and go
Like World Leaders, Empires
Big Bang Theories & Co
He went on trial, then got lucky
Had groupies follow him  
Hundreds of miles, along the Nile
Do you think
He will bother to give us a call
Before he comes back down
To judge us all
Gee time flies
When you believe in yourself
Hope I'm still here, if he returns
To at least defend myself
Jesus Christ, Oh my God
God just spoke to me
Looks like, I'm the chosen one
He said, get ready
Then, wait for his text
For I'm up next
For has anyone ever bothered
To do a family tree search
If you did, you would know that dad
Had more than just the one son
We have the same DNA as mum
But dad emptied his spirit
Into, not just the one ****** bowl
So next time you hear
The almighty word from ones mouth
Listen carefully from deep inside
Ones very own memory soul
Remember your parents advice
When you were a young youth
Because all creatures born on earth
Instantly know the meaning of ones life details
So don't ever think
You are the chosen black sheep
In your family’s fairytales
Live your life, fly like a bird
Just be Happy and Free
And be one with your creator.
Ylzm Apr 2019
The Jews searched long and hard
for signs of their Messiah's coming
but when he arrived as prophesied
they traded their King for a thief.

The Evangelicals love their bibles
Proud they see, for the Light has come
And not as Jews for they're true Israel,
Desirous as Eve, they hasten the Apocalypse.

The Evangelicals searched long and hard
for signs of their Messiah's return,
the lawless one arrived as prophesied
and they made him King.

If the Chosen suffered the Holocaust,
how can anyone escape chastisement too?
Sketcher Jan 2019
Condolences,
Today is the day,
Dangerous circumstances,
Are soon on their way.

From the brains in your head,
To the feet in your shoes,
You are soon to be beat,
And you're soon to be bruised.

You'll have blood on your head, crusted into your hair,
No wounds will ever heal, not the cuts or the tears,
With your head leaking brains and red stained white cleats,
The athletes will beat you while you're out on the street.

They'll touch all of your ups,
And they'll touch all of your downs,
From the back to the front,
From the tip to the crown.

They'll open you there,
Wide open and bare.

Outside things will happen,
They will continue to do,
Things that mess with your head,
Because you are a Jew.

And when things will happen,
Don't worry, don't stew,
Just go along with,
Whatever happens to you.

OH!
THE ****'S YOU'LL MEET!

You'll be up on your way,
To see some pretty sights,
Then a **** will show up,
And knock out your lights.

You'll lag behind, because you don't have the speed,
The whole gang will jump you, they'll do it, indeed,
Wherever you go, you'll fight the best of the best,
They'll use their fist to rip your heart out your chest.

Except when they don't,
Because sometimes they won't.

They will be high or drunk or maybe just blue,
They'll be so sad and depressed, they'll do nothing to you.

They will either hang themselves,
or pray in the church,
They will put down their weapons,
and stop the search.

Upon leaving the church,
You'll surely feel a thump,
And chances are then,
That you've just been ******.

A special kind of ****,
That will leave you stunned,
While it's up in the ****,
You'll scream, "This isn't fun!",

You'll feel the reaming of Muhammad and Mark,
One is a light skin, and the other, rather dark,
They'll tear through your **** like it isn't a sin,
Then they'll turn you around and take you for a spin,
And a slurp, and a choke, until the stuff drips down your chin.

When they finish, will you have the strength to fight,
Or will you barely be able to tell left from right,
You'll be so dizzy that you think you might be blind,
It must have been too much ramming from behind,
After they're done, they'll keep you in prison confined.

You will get so confused,
While they're booming the bass,
Riding you faster, at such a neck-breaking pace,
Riding the throat then spilling all over the face,
Then they leave you in shock, in this dark humid place,
Dark... humid... place...

...just waiting and waiting,
As the seasons come and go,
And cars will come and go,
And people come and go,
Some people ask, "Are you okay?",
and you say, "No.",
You continue to just wait.

Wishing that you were just white,
Instead of a Jew that gives off a fright,
To every non-Jew and hater despite,
Religion or if they're dead or awake,
So you still lay there in anguish and ache,
You'll soon get the nerve to pull up your pants,
And then you'll walk south until you reach France,
Every step is a throbbing pain in your ***.

NO!
YOU WILL NOT GIVE UP!

Somehow you'll escape,
The praying then spraying,
Removing all hope,
Whatever was remaining.

As you leave Germany,
you will say goodbye,
But you were too loud,
And you were stopped by a guy.

The man screams out, "HAULT!", as you begin to run,
And now you realize that the great chase has begun,
As you are running away, you trip and you fall,
Still wanting to flee, away you sluggishly crawl,
You feel the mans hands grab so you beg and you plea,
You loosen the grip, stand, then pinned against a tree.

Rammed into the wood,
Knocked out, this is no good.

I'm afraid you'll be caught,
And chopped up in a stew,
This is bound to happen,
No matter what you do.

Very Dead!
Whether you like it or not,
Dead will be something,
You'll be in the ***.

And when you are dead, there's a very good chance,
That a necrophiliac will find romance,
He'll steal your body with his swiftness and brawn,
You'll make him say, "I do want life to go on!".

On he will go,
With his moaning and growls,
On he will go,
Stretching right towards your bowels,
On he will go,
Like a wolf he will howl,
He will awkwardly peck,
With his mouth like a beak,
Upon the great hole,
In which he took a leak.

On and on he'll strike,
Until all the white tar,
Comes out of his *******,
Dirtying his new car.

He doesn't own a horse,
But a car you can blow,
Because there are thirty *****,
Hanging off the window,
And the wheels are some *****,
That are hardened and cracked,
This is a normal car,
This car isn't abstract,
This car doesn't run on gas so it's quite the heft,
When it's pushed up hills with hands of the deft.

So... will you bleed?
Will you beg and plead?
(This Is Actually Zero Percent Guaranteed)

JEW! YOU ARE IN CHARGE!

This is your life, your way,
You're able to seize the day,
You can go to all places,
You can choose to leave or stay,
So please do what you wish,
And your life will be great.
Parody of Oh, the Places You'll Go. I'm not really sure where I was going with this. It's very random...
Qais Alalami Jan 2019
I am going to conceive a son and name him Adam
As names in our century have become a conviction
A reason for conflict and contradiction
I won’t name him Mohammed or Jesus
I won’t name him Ali or Omar
I won’t name him Saddam or Hussein
I won’t name him Ibrahim or Zakaria
And not even David or George
I fear he grows a racist due to his name
A name of which I am to blame
To foreigners he’s a terrorist
To extremists he’s an infidel
To Shias he’s a Sunni
And to Sunnis he’s a Shia
I fear that he’ll only be worth as much as his name
A name of which I am to blame
I want him to be named Adam, A Muslim, Christian, Jew.
I am going to teach him that his religion is what is nestled in his heart
Not his name
His name of which I am to blame
I’ll teach him about the arab pride illusion
And how humanity is the solution.
I’ll teach him that god lives in hearts and souls before mosques and churches.
I’ll teach him that I began my speech indicating he was a male,
as females in our society are destined to fail.
I’ll teach him that the problem lies in the Arab society tale.
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