The Magic Oud
On September 29 of this year, Jewish folklorist Dov Noy passed away at the age of 92. Howard Schwartz offers this poem in his memory.
you brought back the merchants trading tales,
the grandmothers whispering buba mayses,
brought back so many fairy tales
told by the stove,
warming so many generations.
If all the storytellers are silent,
who can blame them?
the wonder child sheds tears in her sleep —
how will the prince vault over the silence
and recover the shining jewel
that could save her?
And the boy awaiting the bird of happiness
is still stranded in the desert,
with no hint of how to find his way
the princess trapped in the golden mountain
needs the spell
you learned from a magic oud,
the winds need someone who knows their language,
the storytellers are parched for the waters
of eternal life.
It was you who recovered the golden dove
we lost in the desert,
and now we have lost you.
Howard Schwartz is the author of “The Library of Dreams: New and Selected Poems, 1965-2013,” and “Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism,” which won the National Jewish Book Award in 2005.