Two Poems

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by Stephen Schecter (April 2019)


Portrait of Dr. Gachet
, Vincent Van Gogh, 1880

 

Wisdom-wise

 

Often have I heard people say

Youth is wasted on the young,

But now I too have reached the day

That wise phrase escapes my tongue.

 

Had I known then what I know now

I would not have chosen so,

Think then, I tell myself, think how

You will make the last years go.

 

And yet I fear the years ahead

May prove the same story told,

And I will think before I’m dead

Wisdom’s wasted on the old.
 

 

 

Detail of tapestry at Chagall State Hall, Marc Chagall

 

The no-people’s comeuppance

 

The night the Hebrews left the land

Had sent so many to their death,

The Lord announced the time had come

To send revenge upon His breath.

 

Past the doorposts, in sleep drenched beds

His angel waved a poisoned lung,

But against His promised Hebrews

No dog of Egypt whet his tongue.

 

Today they dwell upon the land

Yet still commit the sins of old,

Let idol-worshippers remain

To exercise their lethal hold.

 

Now lies that murder foul the land

The heathens claim belongs to them,

Though God has never authorized

This plagiary of British phlegm.

 

But if the Hebrews do not feel

The Jewish state is hallowed bread,

Upon them once again will fall

Discomfiture and Egypt’s dread.

 

As Moses foretold long ago

When his voice to the heavens rose,

How God would send a people false

To bring His project to a close.

 

But lest this no-people presume

Their wretched cause was wrapped in right,

Moses foretold for them as well

An end consumed in pitch and blight.

 

So shall the sheikhs of Araby

Be plunged into eternal dark,

And from Gaza to Ramallah

Not a dog shall be heard to bark.

 

 

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Stephen Schecter is a poet, writer and sociologist who specializes in telling stories from the Hebrew Bible. His work can be seen at www.shabbtai.com.

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