Two Friends
By Menke Katz & Harry Smith

State of Culture/Horizon Press
New York/London

The following poems by Menke Katz have been reproduced
with the permission of Professor Dovid Katz, Director
Center for Stateless Cultures
Vilnius University

          USED TO SAY
                                                On Old and Young

          Fools are old at birth, old is the laughter
          of the young bore and the voice of the toad.
          Old is the gossip of the cricket, the
          tattle of the telltale, the piping crow.
          Old is Mammon who sees the stars diving
          into busy rivers to mint rare coins.

          Young are the kisses of the Song of Songs.
          Young was my grandfather's last rising dream,
          as he took death out of his lucky bag,
          listened to the labored wind, bread scented,
          operating the sails of his old mill,
          grinding the ripe grain into sated flour;
          blessing with the townfolk the new moon.
          Young is the oldest gold of every dawn.

                                                                                      page 50


          Stars sleep
          on needles
          of ice, hushed brooks
          are fettered with frost.
          Chimney swifts, smoke-blinded,
          join the winter moths, flutter
          over burnt pentateuchs, seeking
          Spring at the last sparks which refuse to
          die, scintillate the ashes like rare gems.
          Two brave pages (ancient sunsets yellow each
          letter) find their way back through the remains of the
          synagogue, cover as with the hands of cherubs the
          anguished commandment:  'thou shall not kill.'  Moses leaves
                                                                                        the scorched
          tablets, rises wherever the mourned dust is thirsty for tears.

                                                                                       page 108


Copyright © 2000 M S Rosenfeld