by Fania Bergstein
Artist: Lois Mailou Jones
You planted melodies in me, my mother and my father,
Melodies, forgotten hymns.
Seeds, seeds my heart carried –
Now they rise and grow.
Now they sprout offshoots in my blood,
Their roots intertwine in my arteries,
Your melodies my father, your songs my mother,
Awaken and reverberate in my pulse.
Here I listen to my distant lullaby,
Chanted from mother to daughter.
Here will sparkle in tears and laughter
“Lamentations” and Sabbath tunes.
Each sound is hushed and each note is stilled.
It’s within me that your faraway voices teem.
My eyes I’ll close and I am with you
Above the darkness of the abyss
Fania Bergstein (1908 – 1950) was born in Poland and found her passion for reading and writing through her father, who taught her Hebrew. She immigrated to West Israel in 1930 where she published a number of poems for both children and adults that have become Israeli classics and are recognized as cultural and literary treasures; many have been set to music. A number of her books, including prose and poetry, were published posthumously. On September 18, 1950, she died of heart failure at the age of 42.