another recent poem

The following poem is entitled Baym Doktor, At the Doctor. It can be found on page 54 of Basman Ben-Haim’s newest book (published June, 2018) Eybike Vegn, Eternal Paths.  Below is the hand-written (not altogether clear) version of the poem, as well as the Yiddish original.

In it, the poet slyly complains that she cannot possibly use a walking cane because the (wood of the) cane is yet older than she is. While there is clearly an element of whimsy here, behind it there is a serious message: for the poet, it is crucial to remember that the seemingly inanimate wood was once a part of the natural world. And that part of nature was tampered with for human use.

What follows is the hand-written poem followed by the Yiddish as it appears in Basman Ben-Haim’s latest book.   Beneath it is my English translation:

,”דער דאקטאר זאגט מיר: “נעם א שטעקן

,זאג איך אים: דער שטעקן איז עלטער פון מיר

,ער טראגט נאך אין זיך דעם צעשייד מיטן בוים

די ווונד פון דער זעג האט אים פארווארפן

,פון בלעטערדיק בלייקע טעג

,געלאזט אויף דער ערד קאלט און אליין

ווילסטו, דאקטאר

?דער שטעקן זאל העלפן מיר גיין

ווען איך נעם אים אין האנט

פיל איך זיין טרער

,וואס קען זיך אפילו ניט אויסוויינען מער

– דאקטאר

The doctor said:

Get yourself a cane.

I said to him:

The cane is older than I am;

It carries within it the split from the tree,

the wound of the ax

which tore it from its leafy flowering days

and left it on the earth, cold, just one stalk.

And is this, doctor,

what’s supposed to help me walk?

When I take it in my hand

I feel it cry,

and now it can’t even do that- or try,

oh, doctor.

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One Response to another recent poem

  1. I am sorry the jpeg is not as clear as I’d like it to be. If I can get the poem into a clearer, PDF format, I will do so.

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