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Also by Bart Edelman:
Your Father's Ghost | Forgiveness | Bashevis | In Albany Love

also see Kate Gray's review of The Gentle Man


        —for Isaac Bashevis Singer

In a strange tongue
They tell us is mute,
You spoke for those who now
Peddle their gabardine dreams
Six feet beneath the earth.

What Warsaw was then...
When Krochmalna Street bustled
With Jew after unsuspecting Jew,
You refused to surrender,
Long after the hateful race
Disfigured each face
And charred hope forever—
A layer of powdered ash.

A swank continent away,
On some unholy day,
You lit the only candle worth saving;
One tiny flame flickered
In a miserable heart.

To say the distant madness
Never touched you in America,
Dismisses the dozen dibbuks,
Howling by your back door,
Dying to tear at your soul.

Ah, noble Bashevis—
Spinner of improbable yarns,
Mystical seeker of vision;
Where do you sleep tonight?
Your hairless head heavy,
Your pen poised and ready
To write the family name
Upon every dusty tomb of life.

Printed in the Fall/Winter 1999 issue of CLR

Bart Edelman Bart Edelman

Bart Edelman is a professor of English at Glendale College in Glendale, California, where he is the editor of Eclipse, a literary journal. He has been the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships to study literature in India, Egypt, Nigeria, and Poland. His work has appeared in newspapers, journals, and anthologies. His poetry collections include Crossing the Hackensack (Prometheus Press, 1993), Under Damaris' Dress (Lightning Publications, 1996), The Alphabet of Love (Red Hen Press, 1999), and The Gentle Man (Red Hen Press, 2001).

You can find Bart Edelman on the web at:
—  Glendale College
—  The Gentle Man
—  Alphabet of Love
—  Under Damaris' Dress
—  Crossing the Hackensack
—  Amazon
—  Barnes & Noble

Published by Clackamas Literary Review, in print and on the web at,, and
Copyright 2001-2002, Clackamas Community College