by Isaac Mozeson
Score O’ Lord
what has befallen us,
feel and share our recent shame.
Anatevka's gone to the dogs;
are Soviet museums.
A generation's orphaned
of our Father, leaving us
widows' fears and survivors' guilt.
We've paid the train ride to our own cremations;
we've literally dug our own graves.
We’re up to our necks
in ghettos and gallows:
even in labor camps
we’re worked to our bones.
And where the Axis let us flee,
the Allies turned us back.
Our fathers took religion
as the air they breathed:
so now we gasp for breath in chambers
of horrors forewarned in your forgotten book.
The subject Slavs enslaved us,
happy to hunt the enemy of their enemy;
the Anglos delayed liberation;
sparing train tracks, sparing useful killers.
We risked and bartered our bodies for bread,
between the hungry mouths
of machine guns.
Our skin crusted in the ovens,
with no meat on our bones.
Farmwives who kept family purity
laws were gang-raped
along with Berlin debutantes.
Surgeons were strung by their hands;
rabbis beards were ripped away.
Selections sawed up families;
children swept like wood chips.
Sages were stolen from their studies,
schoolboys plucked from piano lessons.
We were numbed past fear;
hope became sarcasm.
They'd half proven that
we're not chosen,
a genocide for a deicide.
After this our courage was crushed,
our vision darkly dimmed.
Who could see an Israel
in Britain's Palestine?
Yet the sun could never set
On the empire of our Lord.
Why did it take forever
to remember us?
You abandoned us too long
to the free will of men.
Turn history back to us, Lord,
and we'll turn it back to you.
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This interpretive rendition of Lamentations (Aichah)
chapter 5 is in Isaac Mozeson's Collected Poems (Amazon Kindle, 2009)
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