Shelley Savren

 

Shelley Savren

 

(USA)

 

 

 

Ghost

          God called to Moses

          from within the burning bush.  –  Exodus 3

 

Leap into the fire.  Come into the light. 

In the fierce heat of Ein Gedi

goats graze.  Camels fold their legs.

But atop the Masada a thousand people pray.

 

In the fierce heat of Ein Gedi

lizards retreat beneath broken rocks.

But atop the Masada a thousand people pray

as a file of soldiers approach.

 

Lizards retreat beneath broken rocks.

I hear horses below. The Romans are coming! 

As a file of soldiers approach,

their rising blades slice the air.

 

I hear horses below. The Romans are coming!

They are climbing up the mountain.

Their rising blades slice the air.

Children scream.

 

They are climbing up the mountain.

Warning caws of black birds,

children scream.

We will burn before we are taken as slaves.

 

Warning caws of black birds.

Our synagogue will fall;

We will burn before we are taken as slaves!

Dust lifts and I smell date palms.

 

Our synagogue will fall.

Sweet rainwater cools in cisterns.

Dust lifts and I smell date palms.

The voice of God is calling!  Shema!

 

Sweet rainwater cools in cisterns.

Goats graze.  Camels fold their legs.

The voice of God is calling: Shema!

Leap into the fire.  Come into the light! 

 

 

 

Two Men and a Pumpkin

          – oil on canvas by Gail Pidduck

 

Autumn in Oxnard and the field spreads out

green and orange like waves of caramel and mint.

Leaves rise up to knees and pumpkins sprawl

big enough to sit on, to cover half a porch.

 

It takes two men and a sturdy blanket

to carry such a pumpkin, trudging forward

in their fall jackets and bandanas

heaving its weight in dull morning light

 

as if carrying a body, half alive, on a stretcher

rushing in boots, helmets and bandoliers,

the soldier’s blood and groans heavy

in their hands.  But this is not a rice paddy.

 

It’s a field set for harvest and it’s not

a stretcher but a blanket woven in stripes

of evergreen and white.  The creamy sky waves

in October’s breeze as two men cross the field

 

before noon, hoist their goods into a pickup

someone drives to a porch somewhere in the city

where kids dressed as soldiers and queens

will parade at dusk across a misty lawn

 

up to houses demanding sweets and awestruck

by the monstrous orange face awaiting them.

 

 

 

Wedlock

 

 

My grandmother, in her last immaculate kitchen,

lectured me fervently, as if preparing me

for torment while koshering unclean chickens,

her message engraved like a holy

beaded book – some granddaughter I am,

lucky not to be living like her

in Hitler’s Hungary and sold like an angora goat,

a gilded gift, an unopened package

of virgin bride, how she wept mountains ago

before crossing a seething ocean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BIO

Shelley Savren’s poetry books are The Common Fire (Red Hen Press, 2004) and The Wild Shine of Oranges (Tebot Bach Press, 2013).  She holds an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles, is an English Professor Emeritus at Oxnard College and is California Poets in the Schools poet/teacher.  Her new books, Welcome to Poetryland:  A Guide to Teaching Poetry Writing to Young Children and The Forms of Things Unknown:  A Guide to Teaching Poetry Writing to Teens and Adults (Roman & Littlefield, 2016) document 40 years of teaching poetry.

 

www.shelleysavren.com

 

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