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« Next Line, Please: Enter Your Best August Haiku | Main | Don't Let Robin Williams' Darkness Spread [by Jennifer Michael Hecht] »

August 13, 2014


You did it again, bringing back my childhood memories of living among survivors. I love your descriptions. The are clear, vivid and just before the last sentence, the heart aches again. I miss my parents and the way their words brought back their entire tragedy in the most mundane moments. Kudos for the gifts you share.

Dear Janet,

Gardening and poetry goes together like ... Yes, indeed. I didn't realize you'd be posting each day of this week, what a great concept, we really get to know more about you, the guest blogger. Got to love that! A great opportunity for writer and reader.

You: "I have a vision, a voice and something to say", I'd say plus, and that is a Big Plus, You've got An Ear for Listening and Hearing. Kudos for all you've accomplished, for sharing, reaching out and teaching. You seem fearless.

Thank you Chaya. You are correct, the Shoah comes back in the small moments - the moments that seem so innocuous but are so loaded with meaning.

Judith, thank you for your kind comments. Gardening and poetry do go together, don't they! They are both about the cycles of life. I am glad you like the idea of an author posting for five days - it gives the reader a chance to know the author more. I'm posting again tomorrow and Friday.

Dear Janet,

Yes, genocides keep happening. I wonder if our poetry and sensibility as Jews can now include the experience of the Palestinians and the devastating losses that they have suffered and continue to suffer, if their memories can penetrate, indeed become part of our experience, given how our own suffering and our search for continuity and wholeness is intertwined tragically with theirs. I am reviewing a book submitted for publication by a woman who grew up in a Khan Younis refugee camp in Gaza. Her opening chapter is about her grandmother, who was expelled from her village in Palestine by Jewish forces in 1948, who then destroyed the village in order to prevent the villagers from ever returning to the land that had now become the Jewish state. I have changed the name of the village and the people because the book is still not published.

"In the eighties, my grandmother visited Beit Zachra. In great shock at the level of destruction and unable to locate her home, Najwa asked her son to leave her alone for some time. She started to walk around the beautiful village that had completely vanished. 7 She first found the old quarry had been overrun with sand for many years and overgrown with grasses. Then she recognized a small part of the mosque foundation, but the rest had been destroyed. Finally she located her home. A part of the wall from her house remained. She hugged the wall and then the rubble and sobbed over her sweet home with all its memories that had become a pile of small stones. She also wept where the sycamore tree no longer grew – a place where she used to rest every day. After returning to Khan Younis from Beit Zachra, she was sick for a month, and she then understood the reason why her father did not visit his village after the expulsion.

When I saw my grandmother in November 2012 she was unusually happy. Surprised by her high spirits, I asked for an explanation. She looked me in the eye and, to my surprise, said that she was no longer worried about Beit Zachra. Neither was she worried about the water well, the land, the farms, and the sycamore trees, nor about the passage of time and the future that she's wanted for so long. Then she said, 'For many years, I felt as if I were walking alone. And as you know walking alone is not a pleasant way to make a journey. Now, because of my age, I cannot walk, but I'm not alone anymore. I can now rest in peace even if I am not yet in Beit Zachra. I now know that Beit Zachra is in your heart, and I also know that you are not alone in your journey. Don't be discouraged. We are getting there.'"

Mark Braverman

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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