Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Out of a Crowd

A recent Autumn Dusk; the bird surprised me. Made with the Prisma app.


What happened to the ten lost tribes
is no great mystery:
they found work, married, grew smaller,
started to look like the natives
in a land nobody chose,
Soon you couldn't have picked them out of a crowd.

And if they'd stayed where they were, 
what happiness 
would they have endured!
We can't believe in it.

The face of the cities scares us,
day and night empty us, suddenly
we are no longer 
God's chosen.

                        We salvage
a pewter dish crosshatched as a bubba's face,
a bent spoon, but the sober

dance of the mouth and the eyes before
we knew we were smiling, a language
stripped and intimate---

For a while we camp out under the strange trees,
complaining, planning a return.
But we have taken out papers and will become citizens.

Chana Bloch

The Past Keeps Changing; poems by Chana Bloch,
The Sheep Meadow Press, 1992, page 27.

American poems by the children of exile have become easy to find and with the way things are going in the world now, there will probably not be a shortage in the future. Chana Bloch has had a long and didtinguished career as a poet and professor. 

This poem is varied in structure, and is almost as if the poet were talking to you across a lunch table. Yet the arc of its meaning is clear. Many of her books and translations are readily available, and will replay careful reading.  jhh

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