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Prague: Starý židovský hřbitov

Whispers of freed verse escape from the cold

Between layers on layers of stone upon stone

Listen as chillbumps expose and explode

Along necklines and backhairs vibrating live bones

 

Twleve layers deep lay the source of this poem

From the bottom of dead bodies six centuries old

Words travel through years of layers of stone

Geysers of protests for suffering atoned

 

Jewish garden of pain in Prague’s undercore

Holds the bodies of hundreds of thousands of souls

The first interned was a rabbi with poem

Avigdor Ben Isaac Kara‘s voice had a goal

 

I heard him one evening alone near home

Full moon was bright when I heard life from dark stone

Freedom with freedom on freedom he told

I departed inspired to write my first poem

 

Whispers of free verse escaped from the cold

Between layers on layers of stone upon stone

I listened to prayers over six centuries old

And cried freedom for freedom with thousands of souls

 

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21 thoughts on “Prague: Starý židovský hřbitov

  1. This is escellent.

    I’ve been to Prague once, spending the night there between Budapest and Dresden. I have a photograph of a building on a street i one room, and a small black-and-white photo of the Charles Bridge shrounded in a light fog on the desk shelf just above my head.

  2. Wow – I love ! this poem and these lines in particular Henry

    “Whispers of free verse escaped from the cold
    Between layers on layers of stone upon stone”

    I love being able to read a poem that flows like this one does – lovely cadence to it with great depth – depth so deep I was transported back 6 centuries – great poem Henry !

  3. wow henry…awesome write…Between layers on layers of stone upon stone… shivers…a jewish cemetery and prague…great combo..works so well…prague is on my city top ten to visit…
    and you moved to wordpress…? will add the new blog to my reader..

  4. dang…this is a great write henry…i shivered a bit at the end the prayers so old for freedom, how many paryers are there in this world for freedom…wonderful texture and atmosphere you create in this…

    wordpress eh? smiles.

  5. 1emeraldcity says:

    As I read your beautiful poem, I did have visions of Prague during WWII, remembering photographs I had seen of the suffering there. And too, recalling tales of the suffering of Jews, in that ancient city. Thank you for sharing. xx

  6. 1emeraldcity says:

    At this point in time, Prague seems to be a very “in” fashionable city. But your beautiful poem reminds us of the Jews’ suffering during WWII and even much earlier. Let we forget. Thank you for sharing. xx

  7. hedgewitch says:

    I think you tell the story of Prague and its people extremely well here–a beautiful city drenched in blood and torn by conquest and centuries of bloody history. Your use of rhyme and refrain underscores the dark and trancelike mood. Excellent piece, (and while I miss the tree, I find this presentation much easier for reading and absorbing your words.)

  8. This is just masterful, Henry. The references to the Jewish cemetery gave me the chills. Last night we watched “Fiddler on the Roof” for the umpteenth time. The pain of what has happened to these people throughout history just pains me. I have never been to Eastern Europe but sense there is almost an aura of suffering that still hangs around. Your poem portrays this so well.

  9. the flow of this was so natural… like time through the ages…
    compelling city you chose to write about and the photo is so gripping . I love how you used the repetition at the end… you have a wonderful way.

  10. Hey Henry,

    This poem is a fantastic exploration of place with a great injection of soul – so natural and un forced.
    This poem has apalpable feel of autumn about it -I cant nail it down but i am still feeling the colours, smells and autumnal atmosphere – November – Orange – red leaves and scarfs – I am on one here.
    A very stimulating poem my friend.

    Arron

  11. Henry! What a write! My heart cries for the darkness, but my spirits soars with thanks for the visit to a city I have never been. Your rhythm here is spotless…and to read a loud is brilliant! Well done, Poet!

  12. The final stanza drove it all home in your wake for the departed. A sobering poem and great contribution to the city theme. Oh, by the way, you had visited my blog before and commented on Exit Wound.

  13. “I heard him one evening alone near home

    Full moon was bright when I heard life from dark stone

    Freedom with freedom on freedom he told

    I departed inspired to write my first poem”

    Loved this stanza… it made it so personal.

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