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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Kaddish, poem by Dorothy Nash 1977


David is dead.
David my brother is dead.
    Yis gadal, v’yis kadash…
I was my brother’s keeper.
For a few short years
I was my brother’s keeper.
But time did change the roles
And he became my strength, my rock.
Now he is dead.
From inherited memories of Russian pogroms,
From the sweatshops of New York,
From the hills of Massachussetts
To the cities of the world,
An urban and an urbane man
Whose clarion voice was ever heard
Against hypocrisy and cant;
He wandered
And stopped awhile
And traveled on again
Until he came to Susqeuhanna country.
Standing at his window,
Looking at the broad lawn sloping to the river:
Susquehanna and Chenango
And, from his childhood,
The Housatonic, too.
What wonderful river names
The old, sweet-sounding Indian names.
What wonderful country
The green and rolling hills,
The wild flowers of this land,
Goldenrod in golden waves,
And Queen Anne’s Lace
And purple mallow.
Now here at last he found his home,
His work, his friends, his people.
Susquehanna country.

Can I say
That he is gone?
And must I cry forever?
For this I know
Beyond the tears,
Beyond the thrusting pain:
     All that he was
    Remains as long as memory remains.
—Dorothy Nash, (197?)