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Published on Jan 28, 2012

This is the third songs of Ordinary Heartbreaks and Other Poems of Michael Blumenthal

Performed by Charles Blandy and Rodney Lister
November 13, 2011 in the Boston University College of Fine Arts Concert Hall


After Auschwitz, it's been said, it's no longer possible
to write about cherries. But the cherries were there,
across from the abandoned lavender oil extraction stove,

surrounded by fields of poppy and thistle and lemon balm
and thyme, in the old nearly abandoned village of Montmorin
once controlled by the Moors, and, when we went to pick them,

the air smelled of lavender, rosemary and linden blossom
and my son was sleeping aginst the breast of my wife,
who looked especially beautiful in the late light

of Alpes de Haute Provence, and the cherries were delicious
against our pallets, turning our tongues a purplish red,
their juice dripping down our chins, the magpies hovering

over us like priests, the crows pirating the hayfields,
and I found myself with no choice but to bless
the ambiguous God of cherries and magpies and children

and marriage, to bless the strange God of my eccentric
mother-in-law Yvette, gathering cherries high in the trees,
and to curse the dark God of Auschwitz and Treblinka

and Birkenau and Dachau, relishing the taste of cherries
in my mouth, refusing to believe they are the same God


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