Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Shom vs. Po (There vs. Here)

Yom shlishi, 26 Kislev 5769.

Nes gadol haya shom  PO!

My friend, S. Galkin, writes a yearly Chanukah greeting to friends and family.  Through her delightful poetry, she copes with a move back to the States after several years in Israel.  She gave me permission to share her thoughts with you.

Subject:  Greetings from the Land of ... PO?!?
Date:  December 2003

Dear Family and Friends, both "po" and "shom,"

Faithful readers of my mass mailings know
that at Chanukah time, I loved being PO.
PO, of course, means here, which I am.
But "here" is only POetic in our Holy Land.

In Israel, the dreidel knows just what to say:
Nes Gadol Haya PO!*, which is spelled with a "pey."
But here, we say "there," which is so much less fun.
Here, the "pey" on the dreidel's a "shin," as in "shom."

Here, everything is all lit up green and red,
"Seasonal" tunes are forced into my head.
There, the streets are aglow with menorahs at night,
and the sufganiyot are a month-long delight...

But just when this all started getting to me,
and I cried "What kind of Chanukah will this one be?!"
I suddenly thought of a man with a name
that is one of Baltimore's best claims to fame.

Edgar Allan, they called him.  His last name was Poe.
His works are still published.  His "raven" well known.
And I said, "Look at that!  I am here.  Don't you see?"
In the land of Poe, after all -- with an "e"!

It's not quite the same, but it will just have to do,
till we return to the land where the real PO rings true.
Meanwhile, I'll say Merry Kislev** to you,
and Chag Urim Sameyach*** to ev-er-y Jew.

Thank G-d, we're okay, and we hope you are, too.
Adjusting to freezy-cold temps and the snew****.
Please drop us a line, and tell us about you.
Are you well?  Are you warm?  Is there anything new?

Last, but not least, let us know when you'll be
heading our way for a day, two or three.
Meanwhile, best wishes for a choref bah'ree*****,
from Bill, the Galkinder, and of course, yours truly.

* A Great Miracle Happened HERE!
** the current Hebrew month
*** a joyous Festival of Lights
**** that's how the real Baltimoreans say "snow"
***** a healthy winter
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