Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Poem

So NaNoWriMo is taking its toll on my entire life, but with only three days left I'm picking up momentum, stealing away from the Thanksgiving party in Baltimore, MD in order to write write write. I only have nine thousand words left to write to finish and it's looking better and better.

Still, I have found time to not only read dog communcation books for my new job, celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, and watch a film by Aleksander Gorodnitsky entitled "V Poiskakh Yidisha", "In Search of Yiddish", but also to write a Thanksgiving Poem which I will now share with you.

An Eighteen Year Old's Thanksgiving

Those who celebrated Thanksgiving first
Were immigrants like us, newcomers here,
Grateful for the surcease from hunger, thirst,
From cold and death and danger, and from fear.

Now we bake turkey, cornbread, pumpkin pie,
And say our Russian thanks to this fair land
To which we were by fate compelled to fly,
Whose riches we dared grasp in our hands.

Raised by this land, divided into two,
What can four years hold against fourteen?
Only memories, far between and few,
And relics, beautiful, but few and far between.

Grew up with English, but sometimes I still stumble
And feel a stranger in this tongue I speak.
I wish I could write poetry in Russian,
But after all this time, my Russian's weak.

I'm grateful to this land with all its plenty
For all the freedom I have to explore,
To use this English tongue all too ungently
When all my parts seem constantly at war.

In this land I grew to be eighteen,
So I've English in me to my Russian core.
Four years can hold but little 'gainst fourteen,
But what can fourteen hold against those four?



Michelle said...

A very personal poem, thank you for sharing your feelings related to your identity and heritage. Indeed, we have much to be thankful for in this country, but we should never forget the larger world from whence we came.

Norman said...

Yeah, Michelle, well my grandparents came from Russia. As I started learning Yiddish they switched to Russian with my parents to be able to continue keeping secrets from me. Same deal, different take.