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This poem is taken from PN Review 178, Volume 34 Number 2, November - December 2007.

Two Poems Yvonne Green

Without your Jews

or when they lived among you in secret, it was as if Zmirot
were unsung, Minyanim were ungathered, Smachot were silent,
rites of death were unobserved. As if Kashrut was extinct,
Mikveh was unused, Chagim were voided, the scent of Shabbat
disappeared, of Havdalah was never released. The fasts eaten,
the feasts starved, learning forgotten, knowledge feared.
It was as if a person had two faces or no face or as if his child
didn't know its own smile, his wife didn't speak her own prayers.
Yes there was commerce and medicine and loyalty and fear.
Conversion and reversion and service in a language other
than their own. But your Jews were gone or hidden. Hostages
of darkened reason, which believes calumny and cannot see
what makes a human being. Which cannot listen or watch
or ask questions or make a judgement, which doesn't know
...


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