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“Leaving”, a poem on Odessa by Carol Seitchik


During the Odessa Literary Festival, 19-21 March, the American writer Carol Seitchik will share on-line her poems about the journey of her ancestors from the Black Sea to the USA.


The 2021 edition of the festival is timed to celebrate the International Day of Poetry. The Odessa Literary Festival is sponsored by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).


You are invited to the Zoom webinar.

  • When: Mar 20, 2021 17:00 Kiev (11:00 am EST)
  • Topic: Odessa Literary Festival presents the poet Carol Seitchik – “The distance from Odessa”
  • Please click here to join the webinar

Leaving

Open closed open. That’s all we are. – Yehuda Amichai

After lament and the gathering of storms, 
There was the departure.
They left for sanctuary in the season of hope.
A time of harvest, rivers brimming on banks -
a promise ahead.
It began like that, 
in the turning, in the wind –
the reality of uncertainty.
The first ones arrived in various ports. 
So much left behind.
Did loneliness arrive with them?
What held them in the midst
of those who claimed
the air of this earth?
They kept the rough edges to themselves.
Some weeping through.
They spoke Yiddish, 
gathered at the table, lit candles on Shabbos,
said blessings over challah, over wine-
ate borscht, ate kugel,
tucked history under their arms,
constructed lives among the artful
and carried on –
carried on until they no longer felt
immigrant.