Since 1996 Volume XXIIV

                  JUDITH R. ROBINSON

As a Jew born during WW II, Judith R. Robinson feels fortunate that her birth took place in America. How her life might have gone otherwise has been a subject of study and identity for her, leading her to generate in poetry and painting works that interpret a tragic history. Robinson is an editor, teacher, fiction writer, and poet. In addition to her focus on The Holocaust, she has published five poetry collections, one fiction collection, one novel, and has edited or co-edited eleven poetry collections. She is a teacher at Osher at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Grace Cavalieri sees her as a poet who "composes poems like songs with clarity and vision, trimmed with memory," taking you "along the road she’s traveling...as she holds her mirror up to the world.” www.judithrobinson.com
Jewish Eyes

burst like stars 

stare back into the ghetto night

smoke and flame rage to blot them 

but the iridescent eyes

gaze on the piles of shattered limbs

the thick red grief

and promise to remember

Publication Credit: The Numbers Keep Changing, The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, April-June, 2019.

I Apologize

to my precious elders;
the valuable ones, 
those thick-fleshed
indestructible Jews

I have known, 
those who 
endured; those who
had the clenched tooth
grit to flee before 
the ovens were lit, 
those --bergs and --steins
and --skis 
those tailors artists bakers 
peddlers scholars music-makers
who did not become the incinerated trash of Europe:

My own people, once stalwart as the stars, 
must now weep as we, their stunning progeny,

disappear like shadows into the cracked cement of sweet America
our brainless heads sucked under the white foam,
merging, whistling, forgetting, drowning, dancing,
no lessons learned, refusing to keep anything.

Publication Credits: Voices Israel, Rueben Rose International Poetry Competition Award, 2011
and Orange Fire, Main Street Rag Publishing, 2012

Yad Vashem*

Here bloom green 
carob trees
sweet with spring; 
the righteous few
are not forgotten 
in Our Garden.
Silence pours 
from leaf and vine.

Note the smooth 
Stone shapes
amid the blossoms:
the sculpted mother's
arms around
her baby:
the first remembrance
of the human artist.

Beyond the blossoms
his last remembrance,
the dying ashes, the
tiny flames that
burn eternal
within the concrete
and basalt.

* Yad Vashem is the name of the memorial to the victims of the Holocaust in Jerusalem

Publication Credits: The Blue Heart, Finishing Line Press, 2013 and
House of Israel, Balboa Park, CA, archived in “Fused” exhibition, 2014


in remembrance of the Sharpeville Massacre

It disturbs, this slanting light
yellow & rapturous
and once a part of promise.

Mocking now, and strange
these sighing palms
that stirred with expectation.

How like betrayal
the stillness of summer flowers
quiet, beautiful, unfaded.

I was not an alien here.
I was as one with the light
the palms, the lilies.

Why did the earth I loved
not cry out for me
as my life’s blood 
was sought and taken?

Publication Credit: The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Summer, 1991 and Orange Fire, Main Street Rag, 2012


Buy A Ticket

An old, diminished town.
Broken streets, broken glass.
Walls here are layered 
Many coats of paint, all peeling.
Flakes of rust glom on to any metal. 
The salt does this.

A lone surprise amidst the grit:
A chrome-bright gym open 
Twenty-four-seven for the afflicted 
The jobless-wounded-welfare-ians who 
Nagging at scabs, cannot sleep.

Someone says dance, someone says hope,
Someone says Wal Mart is coming;
Someone says try this, it will take off the edge
No one on the other side knows squat but

Of one truth the pounded-bruised-lacerated 
Are certain---money would make everyone happy.

Copyright © Judith R. Robinson

PoetryMagazine.com is published by Gilford Multimedia LLC  www.nycny.net

Mary Barnet


Grace Cavalieri

Joan Gelfand

Janet Brennan