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A Little Poem

by Bert Stern

Bert Stern: Writing His Own Book

Web Special: Abraham Midrash

Email Bert Stern

y, God, send me a little poem,
you'll never miss it.
Sweet gottenyu!
You know how I could use it.
Not Paradise Lost, noch,
or the Book of Job I'm asking,
only something normal,
a little poem proper to me.

I want voices of things chattering in it
like it has rolled around with the earth for a while.
Let it smell of something,
kreplach, cabbage soup, a woman's skin,
a gedile mid grivn, a gleizele vein,
red wine under the nose just before you sip it.

Did I say I want to hear the earth thumping in it
like in the beginning, on the third day?
Did I ask singing for everything we need,
peace and happiness, justice,
the wicked withering away?
No, a little poem only,
to watch water flowing through rocks,
fishes still in the current, geese flying over,
noisy, like children.

reprinted from the March 1997 issue of Poetry magazine