In black and white terms, I would say,
__You’re all more white than olive,
Take Einstein, Rothschild, Proust, Bizet—
__all Western, bourgeois, stolid.

Sephardic or Mizrahi breeds,
__Hasidic, Ashkenazis,
Your culture’s rich though my heart bleeds,
__tough luck back with the Nazis.

To say you’re still at risk’s absurd,
__you’re safe down Zion’s warren—
You’ve got your home, your Dome, your herd,
__and don’t look really foreign
Just normal as a Scottish laird …
__(no foreskin ‘neath his sporran).



Damian Robin is a writer and editor living in the United Kingdom.

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8 Responses

  1. Margaret Coats

    Very wittily done, Damian. Do I detect a bit of a spoof on the progressive Englishman’s rosy-cheeked spectacles (concerning risk in the present)? Many progressives are confused about their attitude to Jews. One knee needs to knock Nazis, but the other supports a certain breed of Middle-East terrorism active today. If I were quicker at versifying, this comment might end with rattles as liberal knees knock against one another.

    • Margaret Coats

      This is a good short overview of the upswing in antisemitism and how some intelligent people are addressing it. And unlike the Sunday Times, one can read it without signing away one’s online privacy.

  2. BDW

    This striking, tennos-like poem is reminiscent of early Pound. It also neatly flips the pattern found in the magnificent lyric “Up Beat”. In execution, the poem, with its rich diction and knowledge are reminiscent of PostModernist sonneteer Robert Lowell, and are suggestively Miltonic. Part of the poem’s power resides in its balance of tragedy and humour. Undoubtedly, it is a poem that will find little acknowledgement, and possibly minimal sympathy, in the benighted atmosphere of the 21st century; but it does indicate a widening range in the poetic talent of Mr. Robin.

  3. C.B. Anderson

    If I hadn’t detected your irony, Damian, I would have taken you to task for having suggested that Israelis should be nonchalant when Persian militants rain down missiles on Israeli neighborhoods. But, happily, you knew exactly what it was that was on your mind, and you communicated it perfectly.

  4. David Whippman

    Cleverly written. As a British Jew myself, I am sickened by the way that old prejudices are re-emerging (usually thinly disguised as “antizionism.”) I could say it was ironic – but of course, according to the gent pictured (the one with the shorter beard) I am not endowed with a sense of irony.


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