Thursday, April 19

A poem for Liviu Librescu, a poem for Yossi Librescu

Remember.
I remember
as a child
I worshiped my father
and now he's dead.
He loved life, was passionate about it.
And he knew death, knew the stench of it.
But never did he fear it.
He knew it too well.
He knew that fear was worse than death.
He never forgot
Ha Shoah.
Gas ovens, firing squads, mass graves.
And it never ends.
What was a 23-year-old punk with a gun
to him?
He stood in the door,
he took five shots.
And he told his students to live.
Jump out the windows and live.
He died so they might live.

I never thought of my father
as a religious man.
I thought of him as a Jew.
I thought of him as my father.
And now my mind flashes back
to scenes from the movie Gladiator.
A general who became a slave,
slave who became a gladiator.
We, a people enslaved,
we've become a mighty nation,
And I,
I am the son of a murdered father,
cousin to a murdered nation.
It never ends.
They want us dead again.
Iran, Iraq, the Palestinians.
They want to kill my brothers,
my sisters, my children, my wife.
What did the warrior say?
My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius,
Commander of the Armies of the North,
loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius.
Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife.
And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

Father to a murdered son. Son to a murdered father.
Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife.
And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.
Except, except I will not.
I will not have my vengeance.
I've had enough death.
I will be vulnerable.
I knew a man once who said,
Death smiles at us all.
All a man can do is smile back.

And so I smile.
I remember everything.
I remember lines
from that movie.
What we do in life,
echoes in eternity.

And so I will do something with my life.
And I will remember.
I will make my father proud.
I will savor every moment.
I am because of him.
I live because of him.
And so do they.
He told his students to live.
Jump out the windows and live.
And I know
they will live and
they will remember.

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3 Comments:

Blogger bl said...

Well, this poem is a tribute of course. That quote in the New York Times this morning really spoke to me as I posted before.

I feel guilty for writing this. How dare I?

But this is what I wrote. I felt moved to write it and I couldn't hold it in.

I hope you don't find it offensive.

April 19, 2007 1:49 PM  
Blogger bl said...

This blog started out semi-anonymous and it's become less anonymous all the time.

So, I'll let you know this poem will be published and there will be video of me on the internet.

If you want more info and you have my e-mail address - or know how to get it - then send me an e-mail.

April 20, 2007 5:02 PM  
Blogger bl said...

Well, here's another update. This won't be in the paper on Tuesday. It will be on the paper on Sunday.

If you'd like the link, e-mail me.

April 23, 2007 11:45 AM  

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