Tattered Weeds - Poem by gershon hepner
My poems are like tattered weeds
through which I sift ideas like wheat.
With them I hope to fill my needs
for self-expression. It is self-defeat
they sometimes show, because my lines have holes
just like the weeds to which they’ve been compared.
By reading them you will not learn my goals,
because the thoughts that by them have been aired
aren’t garments that are ready to be worn
by a prince or president or king,
for they explain how much my heart is torn,
and paradoxically are why I sing.
Inspired by a poem by Abraham Ibn Ezra who was born either in Islamic Spain in Toledo or in Cordovain 1089], and died c.1164], apparently in Calahorra:
I Have A Garment
I have a garment, it is like a sieve
Used for sifting barley or wheat.
At the dead of night I spread it out like a tent\And the stars of heaven put through it their light.
From within IO see the moon and the Pleiades,
And when it is bright there peeps through Orion.
I get tired from counting all the holes
Which sem likethe teeth of a saw in profusion.
A piece of thread to sew up its rags,
Both warp and woof, would be superfluous.
If a fly landed on it with all its weight,
He, like a fool, would soon grumble and curse.
My God, make good repairs which it needs.
Make a mantle of praise from these tattered weeds.
Fro The Jewish Poets of Spain, translated by David Goldstein (Penguin Classics)
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