Winter 1959 • Vol. XXI No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1959 |

Works and Days

            -to Fernando My name is laughter, and I laughedKnowing everything's absurd. For God in his ironic craft Made all more and less than his word. And the fool world dances on the spitOf my tongue-whirling, leaping, crying Delight within my fiery wit. And I laugh all the while I am dying.   I. THE ARK   Ghetto-born, depression-bred, Squeezed between the finger and thumb Of Famine and traditional Dread, I learned all History's a pogrom. Scared tutelage of the dead.The hand that strokes the silken shawl,I learned, may not strike red. A Jew's defense, the Wailing Wall. Learned to be patient under blows, Suspect the world, yet ready to be Wiped across my neighbor's nose, Chided then for being filthy. Learned the cost of life in cents, To measure every ring and rag. Saw Israel's shining tents Fold up like a doctor's bag. Learned the little-bourgeois ruse; To save the day against the night, The night for day, then to lose Th

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