Friday, January 30, 2015

I Wish I'd Written This

fragile flowers
by Ron Kleiman

walking through the countryside
marveling at the beauty
of the newly emerged flowers
it was 1944
on a death march
surrounded by German soldiers
when we lose our sense of wonder
we die


Clearly there are different ways of dying, and there are ways in which an enemy cannot kill one's spirit.

Ron posted this poem on facebook on Wednesday, and said of it: 'In remembrance of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz I'm re posting this poem I wrote 3 years ago. It was inspired by a survivor who I was quite close to.'

I'm sure I don't need to explain why I wish I'd written it, nor why I immediately asked if I could use it this week.

The fact that Ron is Jewish makes this tender piece, and his sharing of it at this time, all the more poignant. Not Jewish myself, I think we need only our common humanity to be able to relate to this, even if not at the deeply personal level that experience would bring to it.

I know Ron through poetry, his own and that of his daughter Leigh Spencer, who has already been featured in this column. I arranged this post with little time to spare, and have been busy away from my computer, therefore I haven't researched his background, though I'm sure he would have answered any questions I asked — so I'll just tell you what I already know.

I know that he grew up in Brooklyn, and now lives in New Jersey. He's obviously lived there a long time, as it's where Leigh says she grew up. I know that he has a degree in Business Administration, worked at Metro Flag Co, and is now retired. I know that he enjoys paddling up the Hudson River in his kayak.

I know him for thoughtful, well-crafted, often witty poems; and I know him as an encouraging supporter and astute critic of other poets' work online. He's been helpful to me, for one, on a number of occasions. Unfortunately I don't know of anywhere you can see more of his work, except on facebook.

Above all, I know that family is very important to Ron. Long and happily married to his second wife, he's a loving, and reciprocally adored father and grandfather. From their public exchanges online, it's very clear that he and Leigh are great pals as well as father and daughter. So I've chosen a photo of him in father role, looking handsome at the wedding of Leigh's younger sister, Paula.


Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).

17 comments:

  1. We are so fragile; we are that strong. Thank you for this morning's blessing.

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  2. I have known Ron since about 1987 give or take a year. I know few people that are as caring to their families and friends. Everyone should have a Ron Kleiman as a friend in their lives.

    Patrick Fanning (Older Brother by choice)

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  3. The perspective of this poem - our need for wonder in all circumstances - is so powerful, the more so for being stated so simply and eloquently. Thank you so much for this share, Rosemary. Thank you, Mr Kleiman, for writing - and feeling - it. I have been drawn to books and movies about those times my entire life, as if perhaps, in a former life, I was there. I believe I may have been. And the sense of wonder has accompanied me through my life. So this poem moves me on so many levels. Just a wonderful post today, Rosemary! I feel richer for having read it.

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  4. For me this is so eloquent--the idea of wonder in the face of cruelty and death--

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  5. Somehow I think the spring flowers are saviors in so many cases.. wonderful really.

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  6. For all the foolishness of mankind, nature will always show us what is important and that is the beauty of life.

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  7. What a moving poem you have featured today, Rosemary. I appreciated the poem as well as your commentary. And so very true -- the enemy cannot kill one's spirit. And we all are, I think, 'fragile flowers.'

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  8. This is indeed a very poignant poem and you chose the right week to feature it, Rosemary. I like the idea that as long as we have the ability to wonder we are not dead yet. I also liked what you shared about Ron.

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  9. These things post late at night, my time, and it is always such a joy to wake up to the comments coming in on my Saturday morning! :)

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  10. Susan, Patrick, Sherry, Audrey, Bjorn, Old Egg, Mary, Gabriella, those who have read without comment, and most especially Rosemary, thank you so very much for the kind words. That my musings can effect people, get them to think, ponder, contemplate, wonder, provides me with reward beyond my ability to express. Thank you.

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    1. Ron, how wonderful to see your response here! I wish you had a blog...I would follow it.

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  11. Deeply touching in its simplicity. I adore this piece. Thank you for sharing it and for allowing us to feel all that it evokes.

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  12. Rosemary Nissen-Wade - Not having met him, you have captured the essence of Ron Kleinman. Through my husband, Patrick Fanning, I met Ron 5 years ago and we instantly connected (Ron, I hope you agree). I often encourage Ron to publish his musings, but, alas, he is too modest.

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  13. Dora, connecting with you guys is easy, publication on the other hand, not so much. It also brings with it the agenda of writhing for the publisher instead of for myself. Realest reason though is a matter of time, as is I find a shortage of hours in the day and seeking venues for publication is simply not a priority.

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    1. Lovely typo - writhing for the publisher, lol! (Wouldn't put it past you to have done it on purpose.)

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    2. Oh, and the way to avoid that is to self-publish! (Which may also include some writhing, but at least you'll be doing it on your own terms.)

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  14. This is one of the most heart-wrenching and beautifully wrought poems I've ever read. Truly magnificent! I basically do not have words to articulate the majesty of this grand piece of work. Bravo!

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