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She Saved Her Best for Last

She'd been raised to despise them, and despise them she did
  The Orthodox, be they modern or old-fashioned, and the Chassidim
She'd grown up loathing their Sabbath and their dietary restrictions
  Their clinging to hoary customs and rites, like ritual circumcision

She was enlightened and educated, cultured, sophisticated, so unlike them
  She had a college degree, a home in the suburbs, wore nice skirts with a hem
So it was like a stab in the back when her firstborn son announced
  That the faith of his forefathers he was simply not going to renounce

And as he delved deeper into the Holy Books with each passing day
  She bemoaned and bewailed his predilection to learn Talmud and pray
Turning away from the prospect of respectable profession, of solid success
  To pursue a life of righteous sanctity, religiosity, of ill-fitting dress ...

To make a long story dramatic, her son became quite the religious fanatic
  And she despised him for it, in a manner knee-jerk, automatic
Until he promised never again to mention to her the slightest thing Jewish
  While she, for her part, would stop behaving impossibly shrewish ...

They maintained this uneasy truce for decades on end
  Enabling them to spend time together as friends
Till one day he got a call that she was near the end of the line
  So he rushed out to be with her for the very last time 

Body withered, she lay pale and drawn, her voice almost gone 
  The room was deathly hot, against a winter's Friday afternoon
As she nodded off fitfully, he realized that he'd have to leave soon
  Leaving her with her caretaker Sabbath night through the emergence
                                                 of Saturday evening's stars and moon

Her poor stomach was blocked; she couldn't eat or drink a thing
  Her only sustenance, ice chips, which her caretaker would bring
He stood there, pondering her hospital room ---
  When from his mouth tumbled these words (Would they seal his doom?)

"Why, Mom, the laws of Sabbath you can keep; it'll do you good."
  Though as soon as he'd said them, his heart turned to wood
"What have I done?!" he thought. 'Twas his Mom's dying day!
  Upon his return Saturday night, there'd surely be hell to pay ...

After the Sabbath he tiptoed into her room, queasy with trepidation
  Braced for the worst, anticipating her imminent imprecations ---
But she turned toward him slowly, a warm glow, a shine on her face 
  Proudly told him, "I kept the Sabbath!" ~ then departed the human race

             Entry in "The last..." contest
                   Sponsor: Silent One

Copyright © | Year Posted 2018

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Date: 12/5/2018 9:51:00 PM
A captivating poem expressed in enthralling and dramatic story-telling fashion. I truly enjoyed this heartfelt journey of mother and son and the many ways that your poetic talent sparkled in this amazing poem. Congratulations, Gershon, on your wonderful win. Warmest wishes always, my friend.. ~Susan
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Gershon Wolf
Date: 12/5/2018 10:47:00 PM
Thank you for your generous praise, Susan. Hopefully I am worthy of half of it. Best and warmest winter wishes, Gershon
Date: 12/3/2018 12:57:00 AM
Accept, and forgive - valuable lessons for each side to learn - congratulations on this remarkable and tender saga-
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Gershon Wolf
Date: 12/3/2018 7:35:00 PM
Thanks so much for reading and evaluating this one, Michelle. Season's best, Gershon
Date: 12/1/2018 11:13:00 PM
A wonderful well written deeply moving poem, Gershon, congratulations on your win.
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Gershon Wolf
Date: 12/2/2018 11:29:00 AM
Appreciate your wading your way through this one, Eve, and thank you for your support! ~ Gershon
Date: 12/1/2018 11:11:00 AM
- Many beautiful and deeply moving poems for this contest ... congratulations on your win, Gershon :) - hugs & happy weekend // Anne-Lise :)
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Gershon Wolf
Date: 12/1/2018 8:48:00 PM
Thank you! And congrats to you on your win in the contest with your moving poem. (See my comment there). Best wishes, Gershon
Date: 12/1/2018 11:04:00 AM
Great storytelling Gershon.. Congratulations on your placement in the contest..
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Gershon Wolf
Date: 12/1/2018 8:44:00 PM
And thank YOU for the great opportunity that you provided us to stretch our poetic wings. … Speaking for myself, I now have something wonderful to pass on to my children and grandchildren. Season's best! :) gw
Date: 11/27/2018 10:24:00 PM
Wow, a very moving poem. Well penned and thought provoking.
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Gershon Wolf
Date: 11/28/2018 1:52:00 PM
Thanks for wading your way through this one, (which is perhaps a tad or three too long). Appreciated! ~ Gershon