The Ghetto and Other Poems eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 38 pages of information about The Ghetto and Other Poems.

But Sarah’s desire covets nothing apart. 
She would share all things... 
Even her lover.


The sturdy Ghetto children
March by the parade,
Waving their toy flags,
Prancing to the bugles—­
Lusty, unafraid... 
Shaking little fire sticks
At the night—­
The old blinking night—­
Swerving out of the way,
Wrapped in her darkness like a shawl.

But a small girl
Cowers apart. 
Her braided head,
Shiny as a black-bird’s
In the gleam of the torch-light,
Is poised as for flight. 
Her eyes have the glow
Of darkened lights.

She stammers in Yiddish,
But I do not understand,
And there flits across her face
A shadow
As of a drawn blind. 
I give her an orange,
Large and golden,
And she looks at it blankly. 
I take her little cold hand and try to draw her to me,
But she is stiff... 
Like a doll...

Suddenly she darts through the crowd
Like a little white panic
Blown along the night—­
Away from the terror of oncoming feet... 
And drums rattling like curses in red roaring mouths... 
And torches spluttering silver fire
And lights that nose out hiding-places... 
To the night—­
Squatting like a hunchback
Under the curved stoop—­
The old mammy-night
That has outlived beauty and knows the ways of fear—­
The night—­wide-opening crooked and comforting arms,
Hiding her as in a voluminous skirt.

The sturdy Ghetto children
March by the parade,
Waving their toy flags,
Prancing to the bugles,
Lusty, unafraid. 
But I see a white frock
And eyes like hooded lights
Out of the shadow of pogroms
Watching... watching...


Calicoes and furs,
Pocket-books and scarfs,
Razor strops and knives
(Patterns in check...)

Olive hands and russet head,
Pickles red and coppery,
Green pickles, brown pickles,
(Patterns in tapestry...)

Coral beads, blue beads,
Beads of pearl and amber,
Gewgaws, beauty pins—­
Bijoutry for chits—­
Darting rays of violet,
Amethyst and jade... 
All the colors out to play,
Jumbled iridescently... 
(Patterns in stained glass
Shivered into bits!)

Nooses of gay ribbon
Tugging at one’s sleeve,
Dainty little garters
Hanging out their sign... 
Here a pout of frilly things—­
There a sonsy feather... 
(White beards, black beards
Like knots in the weave...)

And ah, the little babies—­
Shiny black-eyed babies—­
(Half a million pink toes
Wriggling altogether.)
Baskets full of babies
Like grapes on a vine.

Mothers waddling in and out,
Making all things right—­
Picking up the slipped threads
In Grand street at night—­
Grand street like a great bazaar,
Crowded like a float,
Bulging like a crazy quilt
Stretched on a line.

Project Gutenberg
The Ghetto and Other Poems from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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