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Each Step a Triumph: New Poetry

Yermiyahu Ahron Taub is a poet, librarian and translator living in Brooklyn, N.Y. His Yiddish poems have been published in Der Bavebter Yid, Lilliput review, Tsukunft and the Yiddish Forward, and his poem “questions of dress” was nominated by the Adirondack Review in 2001 for the Pushcart Prize. This poem, “landscape: obscured, silver,” is taken from his first book of poetry, “The Insatiable Psalm,” which has just been accepted for publication by Wind River Press.

landscape: obscured, silver

what has come of the ghosts who once dwelt among us?

flitting between our bent shoulders,

they ensured that our involvement was understood.

their wreaths shielded us from

the black grains that dotted our fields of surrender.

with their hands caressing our back,

the snow glittered on the expanse of our pilgrimage.

with or even without lanterns,

our feet could remap the inevitable road —

the sluices of brown, the dog bite against our ankles, the gathering wind.

this was a world whose name eluded us,

ruled by an earth furious at our invasion

and by a heavens insistent on exile.

who then were these intermediary creatures?

what was the terrain of their intention?

spurred by fear, we welcomed their intervention.

such a grace could only enlarge.

surely our strength was not a mistake?!

we had trudged these hundreds of miles;

each step had to have been a triumph.

we had arrived, we knew it.

these were our rooms;

outside — our gardens.

what then this darkness?

why had our words become so pale,

our fingers so gossamer?

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