Keith Chopping

In Memory of Josef Herman

Along a corridor dripping with icons,
first you should gaze into and beyond
the haggard faces, full of piety and pity,
the bony fingers to admonish.

Then, to remind you that you are so much more
than mere soul, have mercy, the African
masks and figurines –
bodies still alive with warmth and sinew.

(Some bought in lieu of a washing-machine.)

From his studio, curling up with pipe-smoke,
you will hear one word of Yiddish, “ oy “.
One word pregnant with the agonies of Warsaw ,
the loss of children.

Wait a little…. then join him, absorb a lesson on art and life
in beautiful English, wrapped in guttural
over a slurp of tea.

“Is it true you drank from jam-jars, Joe bach?"

Later, as you step out in to the indifferent neon,
you allow a smile.
There may be time again to share your twilights.

Keith Chopping © 2014