Hebrew School – Mark Burgh

Books piled in corners that nobody read(s)
still fold words into themselves, striated
lines colored by ethics, marred history.
Nobody’s cleaned the windows you stare through.
Nobody wants to be there, either. Hebrew
letters chalked on slate. Takes me hours to
sound out a word, a dismal slow bell rung
among others equally ignorant.
If I charm the aleph, black dancer, black bird,
knowledge will douse me like gasoline, soak me
in fire, would I find the next letter? Bet
gimel, dalet, hey.  Look at me, Pan Chleb,
living wick. I consume letters, aleph
ashes to memory, dances skyward.

2 thoughts on “Hebrew School – Mark Burgh

  1. Andrew Releford

    This is a beautiful poem, and to me, as a secular, I read it as a jaded view of a Jewish person’s religion. As for imagery, it is excellent! I adore the second and third lines, but even the forth, which is a simple statement, is still effective due to how it follows “lines colored by ethics, marred history.” The poem continues to flow through multiple, says, voice styles?, seamlessy, and works effectively. This small chunk of sound and imagery is a shepherd’s pie, never old, succinct enough to offer us morsels of variety and then end without crossing our line.


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