Herbert Nehrlich

Rookie (04 October 1943 / Germany)

Destiny** - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

Not being Catholic nor Jew,
I may not sit
in that small chamber to confess,
or cry my tears
while gripping
with numb fingertips
the wailing wall.

I come to you,
my dear old friend
to ask advice.
I've travelled long
and often took
the hilly roads,
due to the views
and then
the pleasure of
into valleys,
with a well earned ease.

I took to resting under trees,
'twas always hard
to leave their pleasant company,
and I preferred to reach
the outskirts of small villages
so close to dusk,
when there would be
a festive atmosphere,
with candles being lit
and heavy curtains drawn,
the children's voices,
muffled though,
would echo off the stones
and hopeful dogs,
left out to guard the folks
from evil spirits
and foul-smelling vagrants
from the East.

I'd knock
and wish them well
and offer to perform,
to play my Klingenthal,
the oldest violin
and one which warmed
the coldest heart of stone.

They'd give me bread
and, for a song of love
or one to praise our Lord,
I'd sleep the night away
among the goats,
watched by the loving eyes
of Jersey cows
and there was peace
within the barn
and in my heart.

The year came swiftly
when I settled in the hills,
a house of stone
a tiny plot, a picket fence,
and she was there
as if the gods themselves
had planned it all
and there was method
and no madness
to it all.

His robe was black
his voice a somber
'till death, he said
and it was clear
to one and all,
decades would pass
and there would be,
the happy laughter
and the patter of small feet.

All things, the pastor had,
so many moons ago pronounced
to only me,
are possible to those who do,
devoid of doubt, believe.
He'd grabbed me by
my bony shoulders
then he hugged me tight,
you'll be the one who will,
without regret make waves,
it is an honour to be wise
and always to remain
a servant to your god,
and too, to man,
so be prepared to pay,
to sacrifice
when evil spreads its wings
and threatens peace
you carry truth
and inner justice,
go with God!

I never understood,
though do recall these words
as if they had been uttered
not to innocent and eager ears
of youth
but yesterday.

And I would be
here, at your church
to ask advice
of you,
my learned mentor
and my trusted friend.

Sadly, you have been called
to be with Him,
and I have drifted
in the years
away from God,
not to forsake,
but just to be
a better man.

And here I stand,
without an ear to hear my tale,
I now must trust
not God nor Priest
nor destiny,
I shall speak clearly
to myself and to the soul
who held my hand,
yes, just to dance
and have a happy afternoon,
to hear our laughter
over silliness and sin,
and walk the beach that night
while watching a full Moon.

It is bizarre, I say
and really,
who'd have thought?
I've studied physics
and the whole of chemistry,
I've found the errors
and the scientific lies
but there was something
much more powerful than me
and it lay smiling
in those still and lovely eyes.
So to be fair,
I shall enlist her as one judge,
appoint myself
to be the voice to tip the scale,
no use of asking those who stare
(we shall not budge)
and if God will
we'll stand together
just to wail.

Comments about Destiny** by Herbert Nehrlich

  • (12/27/2008 3:19:00 AM)

    H.x what a powerful poem... but then again I would expect nothing else from you..
    today, I met a lady on the beach.. I smiled and talked to her and she told me this story: I could feel the wind roll in from the cemetary and it rolled to tears in my eyes and then rolled on to you (I hugged her and she invited me to her village) .. to hear the rest of her story.. her son - 23 years had died after being hijacked in his truck) ... Destiny.. indeed.. is a remarkable word, feeling and attributes.. aroha Deana xx...

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, December 27, 2008

Poem Edited: Saturday, December 27, 2008

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