Over Babii Yar
there are no memorials.
The steep hillside like a rough
I am frightened.
Today I am as old as all the
I seem to be a Jew at this moment
Here I plod through ancient Egypt.
I, crucified. I perishing.
Even today I bear the scars of
I think also of Dreyfus. I am he.
The Philistine my judge and my
Cut off by bars and cornered,
ringed round, spat on, slandered.
Screaming ladies with Brussels
stick their parasols into my face.
I am also a boy in Byelostok.
Blood runs, spilling over the
The bar-room rabble-rousers
give off a stench of vodka and
A boot kicks me aside, helpless.
In vain I plead with these pogrom
While they jeer and shout,
"Beat the Yids. Save
the corn chandler beats up my
I seem to be Anne Frank
transparent as an April twig
and am in love, and have no need
My need is that we look at each
How little we can see or smell
separated from the leaves, denied
Yet we can do so much--tenderly
embrace each other in a dark room.
They’re coming. Be not
The booming sounds of spring:
is coming this way. Come then to me.
Quickly, give me your lips.
They're battering down the door.
It's the roar of the ice.
the wild grasses rustle.
The trees look ominous, like
And everything is one silent cry
Baring my head
I feel myself turning gray.
And I am one massive, soundless
above the many thousand buried
I am each old man shot dead.
I am every child shot dead.
Oh my Russian people, I know you.
Your nature is the "Internationale."
Foul hands rattle your clean name.
I know the goodness of my country.
How horrible that pompous title
the antisemites calmly call
Society of the Russian People.
No part of me can ever forget it.
When the last antisemite on earth
is buried forever
let the "Internationale"
In me there is no Jewish blood,
but in their callous rage, all
hate me now as a Jew.
For that reason
I am a true Russian!