My Yiddishe Mama

Poetry

By Stanley Siegelman

Published February 11, 2009, issue of February 20, 2009.
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The song describes “her wrinkled brow.”
Botox smoothes her complexion now.
No mameloshn does she speak,
To her, that language is “all Greek.”

“How few her pleasures” goes the song.
Today that concept is all wrong,
For currently the Jewish mom is
On vacation in St. Thomas.

These mamas glow with lipstick, rouge,
The tools of female subterfuge.
The threadbare dress, the shopworn coat
No longer strike a mournful note.

Instead, to fashion heights mom soar,
With aid from Christians like Dior.
Their leisure time these moms prolong
By playing bridge and/or mah-jongg.

That “little lady” in the tune
Was wrinkled, pitted like a prune.
Today she’s turned into a peach,
The kind found in Miami Beach.

The “two cents plain,” a special treat,
Old moms would sip, to beat the heat.
To thirstiness allay today,
The likely choice is Beaujolais,
While many more their thirst appease
With gin and tonic, daiquiris.

In days gone by, the Bintel Brief
Would give emotional relief.
Today to Dr. Ruth they turn
To fathom life, its secrets learn.

What plagued old mom’s maternal role?
The vagaries of birth control!
Most likely, too, her life was spent
Residing in a tenement.

Today, grown children of New Yawk
About their mothers often talk
To therapists, of egos, ids,
Neuroses born when they were kids.

Once, moms made pies with homemade dough,
From haute cuisine they didn’t know.
They tended to become obese.
Who heard of counting calories?
The Forverts gave them all the news
The needed — mostly about Jews.
Now instant bulletins they get
From TV and the Internet.
Nostalgia blurs our backward glance!
Today, the mamas wears the pants!


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