“The Immigrant” by Yakov Azriel

Yakov Azriel


Here is good, yes? We are one, yes? This land
of love you’ve brought me to is different from
all lands I’ve known before. I have become
a resident who learns to understand—
a little slowly, yes?—new customs and
new laws. New music, too—to play a drum
and saxophone, you’ve taught me, yes?—and some
new dancing steps, you lead me, hand in hand.

Despite my funny accent and the words
I mispronounce; despite my failure to
improve my speech; despite the way I dress;
despite my dreams in which I speak to birds
in foreign languages unknown to you,
you love me as I am, you love me, yes?

from Rattle #59, Spring 2018
Tribute to Immigrant Poets

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Yakov Azriel: “I was born in New York City in 1950, and came to live in Israel in 1971, after finishing my BA in Brooklyn College. Although I no longer live in America, and although I speak Hebrew well, I feel more comfortable writing poetry in English than in Hebrew. I am not sure that the fact I no longer live in the country of my birth is reflected in my poems, but I do believe being at home in more than one language and more than one culture can give a writer a greater perspective and hopefully greater depth. In a sense, we are all strangers.” (web)

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