Mr. Blumen

by Chaim Weinstein (Brooklyn, NY)

Stiffly they sit, side by side
In sepia-flavored photo on the shelf
Their hundred-year synced stories
Now torn by jagged scythe most quick
From the banshee-screaming reaper:
The cossack’s rapier brandished high
In Warsaw, slashed and missed them.
The dysentery, the loneliness
Vale-filled tears, endless pain:
They survived it all,
Two lovers near burning in the ghetto;
Sixty years on, now one off
So how shall he presume?
Without her skin to smell,
Her wisdom and nags
Her giggles and word-arrows
Piercing his cast-iron armor
Or lighting his slow-built ardor
Why breathe? But he will
Most assuredly go on,
For the Eldest Cossack
Has missed yet again.

Chaim Weinstein taught English for more than thirty years at two inner-city junior high schools in Brooklyn, NY. His poem, “The Shul is Dark,” appeared on The Jewish Writing Project (February, 2010), and an early short story, “Ball Games and Things,” was published in Brooklyn College’s literary magazine, Nocturne. He is currently working in several genres and is hoping to  share a larger selection of his work in the future.


Filed under Family history, Jewish identity

5 responses to “Mr. Blumen

  1. Ephraim Jerchower

    I can’t read enough of Weinstein’s material. His contributions to my thoughts, senses and values are vital and, fortunately, seem to be never-ending.

  2. Mel

    Absolutely beautiful in its touching humanity. I can’t think of a better definition of marriage, the way it’s supposed to be. From one poet to another, I salute you, and look forward to more such windows to the heart.

  3. Chaim Weinstein

    Just a quick note about the story behind this poem:

    I had paid a shiva call to “Mr. Blumen,” whose wife of sixty years had passed away.

    A dozen young men from the small “shteeble” where he prayed listened intently as he described a few terrible ordeals he endured during the war.

    I heard a few of these words (eavesdropping is not always easy), looked around curiously at the photographs on his wall, and the poem was mostly born before I left his house.

  4. shifra hanon

    very interesting
    very moving

  5. Irv Heller

    This poem made tears well up in my eyes. Deeply probing & penetratingly descriptive. Very powerful. A gem. Bravo Chaim.

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