Gentle Man


The Gentle Man


In a strange tongue
They tell us is mute,
You spoke for those who now
Peddle their gabardine dreams
Six feet beneath the earth.

What Warsaw was then…
When Krochmalna Street bustled
With Jew after unsuspecting Jew,
You refused to surrender,
Long after the hateful race
Disfigured each face
And charred hope forever—
A layer of powdered ash.

A swank continent away,
On some unholy day,
You lit the only candle worth saving;
One tiny flame flickered
In a miserable heart.

To say the distant madness
Never touched you in America,
Dismisses the dozen dibbuks
Howling by your back door,
Dying to tear at your soul.

Ah, noble Bashevis—
Spinner of improbable yarns,
Mystical seeker of vision;

Where do you sleep tonight?
Your hairless head heavy,
Your pen poised and ready
To write the family name
Upon every dusty tomb of life.