after The Dancing*

You who tended dead animals knew before reaping
the melons were rotten,
Beechwood Boulevard became a place to escape,
but still you return to your
beautiful filthy Pittsburgh*
where the song kept on playing
even when they were dying.

You remember the dancing
and cry out for a merciful God,
Your skin keeps the sound of the drum*.
In that tiny living room you were
somehow immune to Dachau,
but now, begging remembering,
it follows you to New Jersey
where you contemplate spirits,
keep a passel of cats and celebrate schmaltz,

You say memory is not a part
of our culture…That everything’s throw-away now
is more than a question of style,
Hillman  remembers you, Jerry,
always keeping you close,
It’s something called loyalty.

 

written after  Gerald Stern read his poem “The Dancing”
at Hillman Library, U. of Pitt.

*quoted from G. Stern

2 comments

  1. Hi Sarah

    Yes, after the dancing, the writing, the keepsakes that writers leave behind called poems, we look at them, their work and their lives. They live on echoing through our voice as we read them infusing ourselves into their experience. And here you have done just that with this beautiful tribute to Gerald Stein. You capture the energy and the pathos of his poem, you let us know how he moved you and how he moved others. What a fine poem, Sarah, I can feel them dancing to survive, to whirl away the horror of war memories but also to keep the burning energy of staying alive, to perhaps celebrate how they have survived. And I so much enjoyed this piece haunted
    especially by these lines —

    You say memory is not a part
    of our culture…That everything’s throw-away now
    is more than a question of style,
    Hillman remembers you, Jerry,
    always keeping you close,
    It’s something called loyalty.

    Thank you for this,
    My Best
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Wendy,

    When I read your replies, I want to write all night!
    Thank you for the time you give to seeing a poem.
    It is reason enough to keep on keepin’ on.

    sarah

    Like

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