January 21, 2007

The Warthog| חזיר היבלות| Das Warzenschwein: A trilingual poem

Meet Miriam Neumeier, my third guest blogger. "I am a 90-year-old mother to five, grandmother to seventeen, and great grandmother to 22," my friend writes. "For more than 67 years, I have lived in a small home in Petach Tikva [close to Tel Aviv]. I think I have a crazy streak somewhere. Why else would somebody like me write these crazy things? Maybe loneliness feeds the imagination."

Miriam shares more about herself below this, her poem
in English, Hebrew, and German.

The Warthog
Beside the river on a stone
sits a warthog sad, depressed and alone.
He weeps in silence, does not cry.
I think you would know why.
He thinks, "So we had a row,
yet she should not have left me, the dirty sow.
Now she lives with a porcupine, the adulterous tart.
Does she not know that I love her with all my heart?"
She says, "I am fed up with warts, now I prefer bristles
when doing it; it is like falling in thistles."
Chacun a son gout!
C’est tout.
Beside the river on a stone
sits the warthog forlorn and alone.

חזיר היבלות
על סלע בודד בישימון
יושב חזיר יבלות בדיכאון.
בוכה חרש, הדמעות זולגות,
כי אשתו עזבה אותו לאנחות.
הלכה לגור עם דרבן.
לאן הגיע העולם, לאן?
את לבי שברת, חזירה נואפת, לרסיסים.
את לא יודעת שאני אוהב אותך לעולמים?
התבלבלה לך הפדחת.
חסר לך קוץ בתחת?
היא אומרת, נמאסו עלי היבלות,
בחיים צריך לפעמים לשנות,
עכשיו אני נהנת מהקוצים.
מי יודע מה יהיה בעוד כמה שנים.
וחזיר היבלות יושב בישימון
על סלע בודד בדיכאון.

Das Warzenschwein
Ein Warzenschwein
sitzt traurig und allein
am Wegrand auf einem Stein.
Es weinet stumm.
Ihr fragt warum?
Seine Frau,
die ungetreue Sau,
hat es verlassen.
Es kanns kaum fassen…
Jetzt hat sie es mit einem Stachelschwein.
Wer laesst sich schon mit sowas ein?
Sie sagt: die Warzen sind mir ueber,
Im Moment sind mir die Stacheln lieber.
Chacun a son gout,
C’est tout!
Und das Warzenschwein
sitzt traurig und allein
auf seinem Stein.

Miriam tells more.

"I was born in Germany during World War I. Growing up a Zionist [follower of the international political movement that supports the ingathering of Jewish exiles to their ancestral homeland], my goal was to come to Israel, then Palestine. I was like everyone: a good German citizen. I was planning to study medicine, thought my future was quite clear, and then came Hitler. After graduating from high school in 1934, two years later, I made aliya ["ascension"]. On arriving in Palestine, I worked on a kibbutz [Israeli collective intentional community] where I found my beloved, now deceased, husband. I served in the Haganah ["defense" — pre-State militia], which became the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on May 15, 1948. When my youngest child entered grammar school, his mother resumed learning, too, and I became a tourist guide.

I am still learning. Because I now have a big hearing problem (two hearing aids, and still missing much), neither university study nor lectures are options. So I have developed a long-standing love affair with my computer that brings me parts of the world out of my reach. G-d bless the Internet!

I have no regrets. I lived more than 60 years with the only human being who was really my other half (maybe the better one). I have my big family, and G-d was good to me, leaving my brain intact and blessing me with above average health. Can you ask for more?"

NOTE: My second guest blogger, my ninth grader cousin Daniel Zohar, increased this blog's ratings with his popular post, Caught in the Thicket נאחז בסבך, a powerful commentary on the Akedah, or the Binding of Isaac. First guest blogger, Stefan, sends an urgent message "all over the world" on antisemitism in Austria.


Anonymous said...

Dear Miriam, Wow! You've really been around with the many changes you've had to adapt to. You are amazing !!!
I absolutely loved your spirit,and your delightful sense of humour as manifested in your poem.I am an admirer of your poems having read another poem about: old age (which other readers may be interested in reading!) May you continue with your everyday activities in good health and in good humour.Elana

Anonymous said...

Miriam, I was happy to see your grandson,Omer today. (10/27/07) He is in Atlanta, enjoying the sun and time with his father. If only his new wife would join him here, she would like the weather and not go back North. He is a solid young man with good priorities. He is a bright young man with a great future. He is another reason to be proud and find joy. Many good things to you.

Leah said...

I enjoyed, and was impressed by, your friend's warthog poem. What a delightful imagination!