This collection includes recent translations by Taube of poems he originally wrote in Polish and Yiddish in the 1940s about his World War II experiences in Poland, Siberia, Uzbekistan, Russia and Pomerania, as well as poems written in English about life after immigration to the U.S.
Herman Taube is the author of twenty books of poetry and fiction, among them Between the Shadows: New & Selected Works, Autumn Travels, Devious Paths(essays on Yiddish writers, stories and poems) and the novels, Kyzyl Kishlak/Refugee Village (all from Dryad Press) and My Baltimore Landsmen. A graduate of American University with an M.A. in Literature and Creative Writing, he has lectured widely on Yiddish Literature, World War II and the Holocaust.
Of Septembers Past
[from Siberia 1939-1942]
We slept with our heads on rocks
waiting for the rain to stop
to be able to cross the Bug River.
In the early morning, we floated
on the river toward Uszilug;
the calm of the beach was reassuring.
Sunken, broken reefs on the shore
cover by a blanket of rotten leaves
hide the path to the town’s road.
Strange soldiers surround us, their
sharp Mongolian eyes pierce us with
mistrust. Are we refugees, or spies?
Ruki Wierch! Hands up! Comes a command.
The armed guards line us up at the harbor.
We are marched off to the local jail.
We ask for water, for food, for a latrine,
but no one listens. No one speaks to us.
Next morning, we are told to follow the guards.
We follow like blind children guided
by their teacher to the railroad station.
Destination: Sovkhoz Lenina, Poltava.
The refugees cry out loud:
They escaped from the Germans.
The Russians are no better.
The guards tease: Never will Poland rise again.