Dvoyre Fogel

Translated from Yiddish by Zackary Sholem Berger

HERRING BARRELS

Round like the world, like the city
five hooped barrels of herring
in the grocer's
at 22 BROAD STREET.

Five round wooden barrels
of fat gray salted herring.

50 GROSCHEN EACH
JOSHUA SCHIMMELS
FAT HERRING
50 GROSCHEN EACH

And on faraway glassy seas
narrow ships loaded with fish
-- fish gray and velvety like an autumn sky --
ships cool, blue, the faraway
of resigned steely landscapes

And on hot seas
of blue cobalt and ultramarine
ships loaded with oranges
meaty bananas and humid dates

Ships from brass landscapes
where the sun is a great metal ingot
where on streets elastic like gold foil
everything is for the first time and urgent.
Fantastic and out of nothing
like old world-weary bananas. Like oranges.
Like people who've gambled away their constellations.

1934

 

 

 

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Dvoyre Fogel (1902-1942), the "Polish Franz Kafka", was born to a family that did not speak Yiddish at home. She received a Ph.D. in art history and traveled widely.

Zackary Sholem Berger is a poet and translator in Baltimore. He wishes to thank the Baltimore Yiddish Reading Group for introducing him to Dvoyre Fogel.

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