by Rick Black (Arlington, VA)
April 8, 2021 – the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
By the doorway,
a profusion of pink azaleas
illuminates the growing darkness.
As dusk descends in the cul de sac,
the girl on a pink bicycle
My daughter is spinning
to an Israeli dance song, Moshiach*—
no redemption, though, 78 years ago.
Digging bunkers and underground tunnels,
acquiring weapons and bullets,
training groups of fighters.
The ghetto set ablaze block by block,
house by house—incendiary bombs,
dynamite, canons, etc.
No one was there to applaud the Jewish fighters.
Tonight no one is clapping for the Virginia Hospital workers.
It’s quiet. The windows are still alit, the lobby dim—
and one nurse waits to discharge a patient, her hand
on the back of his wheelchair.
Oh, yes, remember the dead and mourn,
but don’t forget the azaleas
by the doorway, blossoming,
or the girl on the pink bicycle,
Rick Black is an award-winning book artist and poet who runs Turtle Light Press, a small press dedicated to poetry, handmade books and fine art prints. His poetry collection, Star of David, won an award for contemporary Jewish writing and was named one of the best poetry books in 2013. His haiku collection, Peace and War: A Collection of Haiku from Israel, has been called “a prayer for peace.” Other poems and translations have appeared in The Atlanta Review, Midstream, U.S. 1 Worksheets, Frogpond, Cricket, RawNervz, Blithe Spirit, Still, and other journals.
If you’d like to learn more about Rick and his work, visit his website: Turtle Light Press
*Moshiach means “redeemer” in Hebrew.
2 responses to “Pink Azaleas by the Doorway”
Well said. I love the image of the azaleas as a symbol of new life and of course your daughter carrying on the traditions in her way. Thank you.
heart-breaking and then those heart lifting pink azaleas