Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Poetry: I Will Go Into the Ghetto

This beautiful poem, by Charles Reznikoff, is one of the works of art dearest to me in the whole world.  It has such profound personal resonance that I feel as if it could be the story of my own life, or, at least, the story of my sentimental and artistic educations.  Enjoy.

I will go into the ghetto:  the sunlight
for only an hour or two at noon
on the pavement here is enough for me;
the smell of the fields in this street
for only a day or two in spring
is enough for me.
This peace is enough for me;
let the heathen rage.

They will take away
our cakes and delicacies;
the cheerful greetings, the hours of pleasant speech, the smiles,
and give us back
the sight of our eyes and our silent thoughts;
they will take away our groans and sighs
and give us -- merely breath.
Breathe deeply:
how good and sweet the air is.


Rodak said...

Beautiful. Thank you.

Pentimento said...

Yes, isn't it?