Zareby Koscliene

Poems by Zelig Dorfman
(Memories of Zaromb)

I .

A little town,
Low roofs,
A table, a bed
In the narrow rooms,
Kapotes of satin
For the poor Sabbath,
Sunshine reflected
in the deep puddles.
Beggars arrive
From all over.
Branches as walking sticks
Beds made of rope.


The smith in his smithy,
Blacksmiths with beards
Making-new horseshoes
For tired old mares.
A grandmother kneels
With a small tub of clay,
Patching the holes
In the near-empty house.
Children run swiftly
to Kheder each day,
Peyes blown by the wind
As they go on their way.


The pale Rebbe
In his feathered hat
Tells the tale of creation
verse by verse:
How God in his anger
Brought forth the flood
And Noah the Ark built
As he was directed
For birds and for snakes
For horses and oxen
And pairs of all creatures
That breathed on the land,
A forty-days deluge -
Forty days rain came down
Till the entire land
Was totally drowned
And deep eyes stare
As they listen in awe
To the story of Noah
And the rainbow G-d sent.


Snow is falling,
Winter's come again;
Snow-icy flowers
Bloom on window panes.
Parents and children
Sitting down together
Round the small table
For their meager meal.
They eat the hot soup
And the dark bread;
Pleasant steam rises
From the earthenware bowls
The snow-covered windows keep
The house dark inside.
Hands are washed before eating
With prayer of thanks
For the-piece of bread,
For the hot bowl of gruel,
And if there are some potatoes
Then life feels less cruel


The sun with its warm rays
Stands outside the window
And the wreaths of frost
Start to melt and drip away.
We look through the panes
At the world which is ours:'
'Tis all covered with snow
Sparkling white in the sun.
You sit quietly thinking,
Then you hear the door open,
A letter delivered,
The envelope's white as the snow
You tremble as you reach for it,
Your eyes fill with tears.
What news and regards
Have come from a far-away land?


Soon the cold winter will be gone
And sweet spring will arrive.
There will be light in the windows,
Warm days and gentle rain
Announce to the earth that it's time
For plants and flower to bloom again
In the fields and the woods,
For the stork to fly back to his nest.
The children will greet it with a rhyme
"Stork, Stork, your house is on fire!"
And the stork spreads his wings
As if he were saying
"I'm home and you go home too."