A poem from the recent­ly pub­lished To Sing Away the Dark­est Days: Poems Re-imag­ined from Yid­dish Folk­songs (Hol­land Park Press), a new poet­ry col­lec­tion from Nor­bert Hirschhorn:

The Quan­tum Rabbi

Nu, Ein­stein, with your ferret’s brain,
come sit at our Rebbe’s table and learn
a thing or two. So you made a rock­et

to shoot at the stars? Which makes you 
a won­der? Ha! Our Rebbe opens his 
umbrel­la and he’s danc­ing on Mars.

You dis­cov­ered rel­a­tiv­i­ty? Our Rebbe can fly
faster than light to greet the shab­bos bride
from the pre­vi­ous night, returns look­ing younger.

Don’t beat the ket­tle about your Big Bang!
Who do you think was vir­tu­al­ly there when G‑d,
Mas­ter of the Uni­verse, cre­at­ed time, heav­en, earth!

And when the moshiyekh, the Anoint­ed One,
comes to rebuild our Tem­ple, our Rebbe will be
along­side – sanc­ti­fy­ing, can­til­lat­ing, pray­ing.

© Nor­bert Hirschhorn 2013

From Nor­bert Hirschhorn’s poet­ry col­lec­tion To Sing Away the Dark­est Days: Poems Re-imag­ined from Yid­dish Folk­songs, pub­lished by Hol­land Park Press

To Sing Away the Dark­est Days is the cul­mi­na­tion of a five-year project which saw Nor­bert Hirschhorn source more than one thou­sand Yid­dish songs. The songs helped Nor­bert to redis­cov­er and trace his own Jew­ish cul­tur­al his­to­ry. How­ev­er, some of the songs spoke’ to him as a poet and begged for a new trans­la­tion, or re-imag­in­ing’ as he calls it, into Eng­lish poems. The result­ing col­lec­tion tells the sto­ry of the emi­grant, the Jew in the Diaspora.Norbert Hirschhorn is a physi­cian spe­cial­iz­ing in inter­na­tion­al pub­lic health, com­mend­ed in 1993 by Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton as an Amer­i­can Health Hero.’ His poems have been pub­lished in over three dozen jour­nals and won a num­ber of prizes in the US and UK. To Sing Away the Dark­est Days is his fourth full collection.