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(Equinox 2012)

Leaf-scattered sun.

Wheeling out of the Bahnhof

our dazzled eyes crinkle.

A syrup of linden blooms

sweetens cool air.

Beneath scrubbed stonework

fate walks these lanes

in all its disguises -- jackboots and bullwhips;

a snarl of lean blondness; dear cousins who flourished

till actions began

yet the street-wall

of Hain Strasse still pleases;

Tschaikowski Strasse tilts up

its Art Nouveau mansards, ambling

at ease towards the Park.

City of Bach

and genius, where chords spill from casements

as gulls skim warm seas. Fountain of commerce

whose trade fairs drew millions, where piles made

were trebled in furs,

fabric, fuels. Birthplace

of Wagner, and nightmares:

green woods verboten; mayors who holed up

with their families and fought Allied troops

to sprawled deaths for the Reich.

Yet sekt still flows below Mendelssohn’s windows,

his Garden of Eden not lost. O beauty! --

bruised city of memories, capital of crushed hopes.

Your past did not

warrant the aftermath:

twelve years of the gangster, then bomb-blasted

rubble, capped by five gray decades of spies.

Yet violins soar in the Small Hall;

the soft June night glistens,

mellow as dark German beer.

From 2014-2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards Collection (Poetica, Summer 2016); reprinted in Shalom Errinerungsbuch (Shalom Week Memory Book, 1970-2021), City of Leipzig (2022)

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