He will set his camp beside a cold lake
And when the great fish leap to his lure, shout high
To three crows battling a northern wind.
Now when the barren twilight closes its circle
Will fear the yearning ghosts come for his catch
And watch intently trees move in the dark.
Fear as the last fire cringes and sputters,
Heap the branches, strike the reluctant ashes,
Lie down restless, rise when the dawn grays.
Time runs out as the hook lashes the water
Day after day, and as the days wane
Wait still for the wonder.
-- Hyam Plutzik (July 13,1911 - January 8, 1962)
During World War II, the Brooklyn-born poet served in the U.S. Army Air Force. He was stationed in Norwich, England. The experience fueled many of his poems. After the war, Plutzik became the first Jewish faculty member at the University of Rochester, serving in the English Department as the John H. Deane Professor of English until his untimely death. Horatio, a book-length poem based on Hamlet, appeared in 1961 from Atheneum. To mark the centennial of his birth, Wesleyan University Press published a new and enlarged edition of his Apples from Shinar in 2011.