Monday, March 19, 2007

the forest

I am asking poets where are the nature poems. Who are the contemporary poets writing about the natural world? Late into the evening one poet tells me "We cannot write about the forest. The forest is where they took us to kill us."
Vilnius, Vilna. Stalin was here, then Hitler, then Stalin again. The center of Jewish learning became the Vilna ghetto. Some escaped into the forest, to fight against the Nazis. A young organizer in the ghetto, Abba Kovner, escaped to the forest and later to Israel, to spend his life on a kibbutz, and to write beautiful poems. I have seen the documentary The Partisans of Vilna, have seen Kovner's face, heard his voice, heard some of the old songs.

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