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Mountainside

MOUNTAINSIDE Always, there would be darkness hovering through- out the bushes and trees, massive sky and earthen ground he tiptoed upon in shoeless stealth, machine gun slung over one shoulder and, strapped across the other, a leather pouch holding coded messages he delivered encampment to encampment, their locations razor-sharp in his 11 year old brain, in a body tall enough to be mistaken for older. Tall enough to be made a Partisan — a courier, and down the road, likely qualifying as a full-blown saboteur targeting Germans and the war machinery they were transporting through Yugoslavia’s Mosor mountain villages. (German soldiers, who, if they’d caught him, a Jew, & partisan, to boot, would surely have beaten him to death extracting every bit of information they could.) Upon each return to his farmhouse refuge, the communications he’d been charged with having been delivered hours before and miles away, the fear he’d braved began melting away. And, in the moments it took him to hang up his courier bag and machine gun, he felt ready for the evening meal of pit-roasted mutton and stone-ground bread washed down with goat’s milk. Then, a foot soak (weekly, a full-body scrub), followed by deep sleep, in a basement below a trap door — a peasant woman’s woven blankets softening the wooden floor boards and his heart. And when that heart rejoiced with freedom in ’45, at 13 years old, is truly when he understood why he detested the taste of lamb, no matter how gourmet the preparation offered the boy he once was — the boy who’d put meat back on his bones in Brooklyn, and the gastronome he’s become — a content 82 year old grateful for his hero Tito and the fact that he’s managed to keep his Hitler-torn past safely locked away in a tight-lipped box, he rarely chooses to open.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2014




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Date: 8/31/2015 3:41:00 PM
Hi Ruth: A sad but beautiful poetic history of one man's life as a child and quick journey into manhood. To learn to take nothing for granted even the taste of lamb.
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Ruth Sabath Rosenthal
Date: 8/31/2015 6:12:00 PM
Thanks for your comments, Ralph. They're very much appreciated.
Date: 8/7/2015 5:31:00 PM
RUTH.. Your fabulous write is featured this week on the Soup homepage.. Huge congrats and the tip of my hat! -LYRIC
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Ruth Sabath Rosenthal
Date: 8/31/2015 6:14:00 PM
Hi Lyric Man, thanks for writing me. I'm glad you liked my poem. Hope you can find the time to visit my website! Ruth
Date: 8/7/2015 12:21:00 PM
Wow. What an excellent write. It was truly a. Pleasure to read. Very powerful. Thank you~ €hristian
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Ruth Sabath Rosenthal
Date: 8/31/2015 6:20:00 PM
Hi Christian, Thanks for your "Wow" I love to hear that about my work. It makes it all the more worthwhile to write. Ruth
Date: 8/4/2015 9:15:00 PM
RUTH, Congratulations on having your poem featured this week. **SKAT**
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Ruth Sabath Rosenthal
Date: 8/31/2015 6:17:00 PM
Hi Skat, Sorry it's taken me so long to respond to your congrats. I appreciate you contacting me. I've got more poems on my website. Ruth
Date: 3/9/2015 3:32:00 PM
Beautiful! Detail! There are details in this poem. Your writing is good to read. It is a benchmark for people who enjoy details. Happy your name came up in email. Great work!
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Sabath Rosenthal Avatar
Ruth Sabath Rosenthal
Date: 8/31/2015 6:18:00 PM
Hi there, thanks for your wonderful comments. Glad you read my poem. I've got more here, on Poetry Soup and also on my website. Regards, Ruth
Date: 2/1/2015 2:58:00 PM
You have discribed a world far away now and yet if we look to the middle east not that far away.There is a deep sadness to know that some children are born in the wrong time, the wrong place.Their innocence is stolen in a world of coldness where they never asked to be....My first thought after reading your poem.
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Ruth Sabath Rosenthal
Date: 2/1/2015 5:15:00 PM
Dear Frederic, Thanks for your comments. I appreciate that you took the time to read my poem and then the thoughtfullness to send a comment. thanks, Ruth
Date: 3/13/2014 9:19:00 AM
Well written Ruth... I enjoyed my visit. Verlena
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Ruth Sabath Rosenthal
Date: 2/1/2015 5:16:00 PM
Thank you, Verlena. I appreciate the feedback. Ruth