Knew Harts Matter – Matthew Krasner

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I came to Poland to reclaim the wandering Chassid
to grasp at reigns of lore
the Reb Tevyes, the Baal Shem Tovs
encroach their wells at the base of hills
with an empty American pale—
I came to place a brick in the ghetto wall
segregating Jew from Gentile
condemned from living
to re-enact and witness
the greatest crime of all—
I came to plant a tree in the soil
follow a ploughed trail
rambling East the forlorn fields
carried forth in untrained procession
the barbs and jests and Freilach melodies
kicking up clay wrenched
in the rustic’s black boots
to fear God
to reacquaint with mothers and fathers
the inside wry smiles—
I came to light my own candelabra
and dress the window pane in dancing flames
to study an elder’s books
invite the suspicions of passers bye
and rejoice in a damp and woody cell:
my name! my name!
I came to reckon the futility of time
of provinces and kings
flags and telescopes and flotsam worlds
revolutions, slogans, immigrations, emigrations
assimilations, patriotisms, exiles and dreams
all but song—the seed
to find inside me
a friend
a Gilead Balm
melting my modernist form
into an unsoldierly brother of arms—
I came to Poland
to make fire and burn out
in the hoary sky
and wandering still
wonder where
is my faith in God?

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