Raymond Farrell

Gold Star - 29,691 Points (02/09/1954 / Perth, Ontario)

The Lady At The Jewish Bakery - Poem by Raymond Farrell

This evening
As I sit
Under the locust tree
The song of the birds
Seems faint and distant
The bush with its mauve flowers
And the magnolia
Now lush and green
Are there
But my mind
Has drifted
Back in time
I do not know
If these spells of melancholy
Come with age
But I feel my eyes
Well up with tears
As I recall
The lady
Who always served me
At the Jewish bakery
In Toronto
When I was a student
Back in the late 1970s
Her eyes were blue
Her ears appeared large
Her face
Bore the marks of age
And suffering
But her smile
Was bright
And her kindness
Contagious
She always encouraged me
Study hard, you're smart
Be kind to your patients
Be sure to listen to them
All the while
I stood nodding
With tears in my eyes
My responses
Were uncharacteristically
Soft and gentle
As my gaze
Remained transfixed
By the numbers
That had been
Tatooed on her skin.

Topic(s) of this poem: commentary


Comments about The Lady At The Jewish Bakery by Raymond Farrell

  • Bri Edwards (5/6/2018 4:36:00 PM)

    i Googled moove flowers and Google suggested mauve (light purple) flowers. hmm? i never heard of moove, but, then again, PH does say you are from CANADA! !
    I ENJOYED this poem. to MyPoemList. well done. i wonder how many readers will 'understand' the reference to tattoos on...her wrist? so, the lady served 'a lot more' to you than bagels and rugelach! ! yes, rugelach is one of the FEW things i miss from my first (of four) marriages; i got rugelach at her parents' home! bri ;)
    (Report)Reply

    (5/6/2018 6:46:00 PM)

    My oversight it is mauve, thanks for pointing that out. It has been a long time since I read the poem.

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  • (4/2/2016 5:16:00 AM)

    A wonderful read Raymond. Lucky the lady was to have survived, smiling because she knew how precious life is and how important it is to be kind to people for who knows what stories lay behind their masked faces. (Report)Reply

    (4/2/2016 9:01:00 AM)

    Thank you for taking time to read and comment. I appreciate it.

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  • (7/1/2015 5:58:00 AM)

    Beautiful heartfelt story poem...funny as a 9 yr old I always picked up the Sunday bread roles from the title of your poem..the smell fabulous [1945]not very long after the world and I knew of the holocaust...since and to this day I love the Jewish race and their kindness...regards (Report)Reply

    (7/1/2015 7:32:00 AM)

    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my poem. I appreciate it. We must never forget what happened in the Holocaust or downplay it in anyway or we will see this tragedy repeated again on a large scale.

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  • Paul Brookes (5/4/2015 3:14:00 AM)

    A study of true empathy Great write Thanks BB (Report)Reply

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  • (5/4/2015 2:36:00 AM)

    I thought only Jewish people cared, felt the pain, had their heart torn out by these disgusting and mortal deeds against the Jews, persecuted, no crime committed but still condemned to death.
    Now I know, that poets do have certain feelings that others don't because for most their hearts beat differently that the rest.
    I thank you, Mr. Farrell for this deeply moving poem. When, I was a child my piano teacher also had numbers tattooed on her wrist. As I learned to play the noblest of instruments, I kept thinking how can things that call themselves human have committed such crimes, all crimes against the innocent included.
    Your poem made me cry, yes they were tears of pain but also of joy to know and see that a holocaust survivor, could inspire such a wonderful poem with so much compassion and human feeling.
    I thank you.May your kind soul be blessed.
    (Report)Reply

    (5/4/2015 2:53:00 AM)

    I will never forget this lady. She had been through so much and always so upbeat, and when I was down and overworked, she always encouraged me. And she was a generous soul, if I ordered a dozen bagels, she'd always give me an extra one.

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  • Frank James Ryan Jr...fjr (5/4/2015 1:45:00 AM)

    I have read many books, seen many credible documentaries and in fact, my very 1st boss(I was 19) was a Holocaust Survivor...A polish nurse smuggled him out a back door of an examining room, and gave him directions to this long, dirty river where he swam for almost 12 hours into Russian and American troops who sheltered him while he recovered from the beatings he took on a daily basis for several months. Such anathema....and, now,70 years later...we have Isis! Excellent penning, Ray...Depictive, and effulgently pictorial.
    ~FjR~
    (Report)Reply

    (5/4/2015 2:52:00 AM)

    Excuse me, but after reading this I could not help putting my 2sheckels in.
    The true story you tell, Frank is filled with horror but also with miraculous survival. You understood that well and I also thank you for your compassion. Jews thru out history have been survivors, but how many millenniums of persecution can you take? As you say now there is Isis persecuting Christians and other innocents, and Iran promising the annihilation of Israel. While forces within our gates cater to
    Hell. Thank you so much for understanding. You're words do you honor.as do your kind and human feelings

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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 4, 2015

Poem Edited: Sunday, May 6, 2018


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