The following poem by Seymour Mayne was published in English and translated into Hebrew by the late Moshe Dor, who was the author of the words of the immortal lyric, "Erev Shel Shoshanim." It was included in The Penguin Book of Canadian Verse and was shared by Mayne with CAEF.
Birthday By Seymour Mayne
for Shulamit Nardi
Fallen in the Jewish Wars
a young man who will never age
shares the same prayerful eyes
of ancestors and our common birth
this day of May
—spring's point of no return.
Son and brother still he lies
beneath shrubs and lettered stone.
Though unknown to me his name
is on his father's lips,
his face before his mother.
Today, our day, celebrating
my right hand has not forgotten
the cunning promise of script.
"Birthday" is a poem dedicated to the late Shulamit Nardi, who served as an advisor on Diaspora affairs for four Presidents of Israel. "Birthday" underscores the speaker's connection with members of his generation raised in Israel whose fate it was to put themselves forward at great personal cost in defense of the Jewish homeland. The diaspora speaker imagines his Israeli twin and honours his memory - and sacrifice - with the words of his poem embedded with Jewish historical memory.
After teaching for decades at universities in Canada and in other countries, Seymour Mayne is Professor Emeritus at the University of Ottawa to which he has been affiliated as a faculty member for fifty years.
CAEF & UKLFI present "Special 2022 Israel Independence Program: Whose Land?"
.."And you shall bind the words on your arm, your forehead, and on your doorposts and gates". In paraphrasing the words of the Shema, we urge all Jews to know our Biblical, historical and the legal claims to the Land of Israel. Watch the experts in our Special 2022 Independence Day webinar program; Whose Land?