A Song for My Father

by Mel Glenn (Brooklyn, NY)

It’s been a while, Dad,
since I’ve spoken to you.
For far too many years
I have boiled in anger,
still smarting from
the scalding scars of your indifference.
Rumor has it you loved me as a child,
and then kind of lost interest,
the search for your celebrity,
to be known in the Jewish community,
claimed your undivided attention.
You learned your religion
in the shetls of Lithuania,
and brought your tightly-held beliefs
to this new country.
I tried hard to be your son,
but all I learned was
singing in a different language
had little to do with me.
You studied medicine in Europe,
escaped the Nazis by a hair,
but healing proved secondary
to your reading of the Torah.
If I never sang for you,
you never sang for me.
For others you sang
the wisdom of the Law,
the miracle of modern medicine.
You wrote articles for the Forward,
and gave medical advice over the airways.
I suppose I must be grateful
for the gifts you have strewn my way.
What gifts? Writing, for one.
I doubt I could ever pen these lines
if I hadn’t typed your columns,
corrected your grammar.
Your gift was not in the giving;
it was imparted by your presence.
So thank you, anyway, I guess, though
it’s too late for you to understand my song.
I do wish, even now, your largess
could have been more personally delivered.

The author of twelve books for young adults, Mel Glenn has lived nearly all his life in Brooklyn, NY, where he taught English at A. Lincoln High School for thirty-one years.  Lately, he’s been writing poetry, and you can find his most recent poems in the YA anthology, This Family Is Driving Me Crazy, edited by M. Jerry Weiss.

If you’d like to learn more about his work, visit: http://www.melglenn.com/

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Filed under American Jewry, Jewish identity, poetry

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