Thursday, November 1, 2007

Tom Berman

Spring Cycle - Galilee

Storks circling
with the thermals
rising on a blue sky
wings outstretched...
spanning the seasons
as the Spring slips
gently into Summer

wild oats wave
between purple thistles
poppies nod and shed
red petals
lupines glow

green fades to brown
spreading imperceptibly
over the hollyhock hills

Mother of Wheat*

They say the Mother of Wheat,
first grew herein Galilee
on these very hills

you wouldn't look at twice
as you speed by
on the highway

Mother of wheat
softening the gaunt grey rocks
in the green springtime

now it is autumn
the wild wheat plants
stand empty headed

cathedrals of thorn
stand spiky-spired
in the late afternoon sun

all is parched
waiting for rain

* The progenitor of most modern wheat varieties can
still be found growing wild in the Galilee

*both poems previously published at The Israel Review of Arts and Letters


I am the imposter
within the poet
imposing on your innermost
tweaking at your heartstrings
in the summer heat
grinning to see
how you react
to my perceived
oh-so-serious fa├žade
a malevolent imp
making free
with others’ emotions
positing good faith
parading sensibilities
paraphrasing platitudes
laughing behind the bushes
crying to myself
as my evening falls

greening days

after the rains
the greening days
untaught seedlings
no memories
of summer drought
or arid autumn
an insentient
cerulean sky
when new hope
is a rare commodity
there’s true joy
in the unfurling
of a leaf
and the trusting growth
of newborn grass

The Leather Suitcase

They don’t
make suitcases
like that
any more.
Time was,
when voyage meant
train, steamship
distances unbridgeable
waiting for a thinning mail
weeks, then months,
then nothing
Time was,
when this case
was made
solid, leather,
heavy stitching
with protective edges
at the corners.
Children’s train,
across the Reich
and starts again...
a lighted gangplank,
night ferry to gray-misted
sea-gulled Harwich
again the rails
reaching flat across
East Anglia,
to London
in my bedroom
the suitcase,
a silent witness
with two labels
“Masaryk Station, Praha”
“Royal Scot, London-Glasgow”
Leather suitcase
from a far-off country,
containing all the love
parents could pack
for a five year old
off on a journey
for life.

*From the end of 1938 until the outbreak of War in Sept. 1939,
about 10,000, mostly Jewish children (unaccompanied by parents
or adults) were brought from Nazi-controlled Germany, Austria and
Czechoslovakia to Great Britain under the Kindertransport scheme.
But for the Kindertransport, few, if any, of these would have survived
the War.

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