This is a poem I created on a triangular form for a fellow student in a poetry class at Los Angeles Valley College. Abraham was a wise mature student taking a course with a bunch of young adults. He teased us and spoke Yiddish in class. He had Holocaust tattoos on his arm that were expanded and dull. He invited the class to his apartment in Van Nuys. Every wall was covered with bookshelves filled with a variety of books. I found a book by William Blake there that day from one of the dusty shelves! I made this to remember Abraham, a simple man of extraordinary insight and purpose! I still have this and it is now sitting on my hearth.
Yiddish – PLAY BALALAIKAs.
A young lad is thinking, thinking all night
Would it be wrong, he asks, or maybe right,
Should he declare his love, dare he choose,
And would she accept, or will she refuse?
Tumbala, tumbala, tumbalalaika,
Tumbala, tumbala, tumbalalaika
tumbalalaika, play Balalaika,
tumbalalaika – let us be merry.
Maiden, maiden tell me again
What can grow, grow without rain,
What can burn for many years,
What can long and cry without tears?
Silly young lad, why ask again?
It’s a stone that can grow, grow without rain,
It’s love that can burn for many long years,
the heart that can yearn and cry without tears.
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