The news event around which Stanley Siegelman weaves another one of his inimitable poems is just a bit of trivia. But in the hands of our astonishing humoratarian (not in the dictionary, but should be), it becomes the essence for a bit of epic “epis.” As our Siegelman puts it in the introduction to his poem: “An American Airlines pilot, brimming with religious fervor, suggested over the public address system that Christians on the flight should discuss matters of faith with non-Christian fellow passengers. He asked the Christians to identify themselves by raising their hands. He also characterized non-Christians as people who were mentally depraved.”
Got In Himl!
“Ikh zog tsu alemen, umzist,
Oy, hert zikh tsu, tsu Yeyzus Krist!”
Di verter kumen fun a man
Vos kerevet an eyroplan.
Er zitst dort in der “pilot’s seat,”
Un makht a droshe ven er flit
Er shrayt, er brent mit heylikn flam
Un zidlt oyf der “intercom.”
Di pasazhirn vundern:
Der pilot’s efsher arop fun zin?
Der khevreman “at the controls”
Vil ton a mitsve: “saving souls.”
Tomer bistu nit a goy,
Bist do gants meshuge, oy.
“Pasazhirn, trakht! Repent!
“Makht a tfile! Heybt di hent!
“Yiddish rayze-layt, ‘attention.’
“Zayt relidzhyes. Nit luft-mentshn!”
Oy, Yidn, ven ir nemt a “flight.”
Zogt gornisht fun ayer Yidishkayt!
Zey viln dir hakn nor fun “God”
Un makhn dir a mensh geshmadt,
Vayst nit a simen fun ayer “creed,”
Vayst nit az bist a Yid!
Tsum suf, bamerkt a tayre “lesson.”
Fregt nit keyn mol far Kosher esn!
* * *
God in the Heavens
“I say to all, you have a choice!
Hear Satan’s or the Savior’s voice!”
These words, designed to overwhelm,
Came from the man who’s at the helm:
The pilot! As he scans the skies,
He sermonizes as he flies.
Ablaze with brimstone, holy fire,
He constitutes a one-man choir.
No passenger the man rebuts.
All wonder, though, if he is nuts!
It’s clear the guy at the controls
Is all intent on saving souls.
He yells, “Let Jesus ease your pain
If you reject him, you’re insane.
I warn all passengers, repent!
Accept this truth — it’s Heaven-sent!”
“You must not risk your soul to lose!
This goes especially for Jews!”
Oh, Yidn, when you book a flight,
Say nothing re your yidishkayt.
By acting thus, you will avert
Attempts to get you to convert
Remain as silent as a clam
Abjure, the tribe of Abraham!
Reject fanatics’ crazy spiel!
Don’t order, please, a kosher meal!
Just be alert and have suspicion
Of missionaries’ firm position!