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What they call ultra-orthodox
I call obedient
What the State of
calls unemployment
I call full-time study
What Christians call the Old Testament
I call the Word of G…
parchment scrolls wrapped tenderly
in blue covers

How many lifetimes would it take me
to understand the Holy Book?
How many lifetimes to interpret
the deeper meanings?
to map the circuitous
His logic
difficult for the mere human to fathom?

I’ve devoted my life
threadbare like my father before me
like my grandfather
my wife working in a kitchen to support us

My great-grandfather was a farmer
until the Russians
made it illegal for Jews to be farmers
and took his land
My great-grandfather was not a scholar
but we’ve all been scholars since

I wonder where his farm tools went
My grandfather often talked about
how much he loved his tools

© Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois 2013


Todays featured poem comes from Mitchell Krochmalnik Grabois, from the US. A writer who has appeared in close to 200 journals and magazines, we are very pleased to add his work to our archives.

This piece speaks of identity, and the myriad influences the world and history can have upon a person’s place in life. Musing upon the meanings of these parts of the Human experience, Mitchell takes all these parts of his own personal and family history and creates a poem that seeks to answer the questions of who we are, and what the World does to shape us into the way we are today. A piece which seeks answers from the past, and a piece that doubtless many can identify with.

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