The Neighbouring Village


by Norbert Hirschhorn

We hear their songs no more, sung
by a people put to flight, hymns

from a village destroyed by war.

We used to visit door to door under olive
trees, forbidden now to shelter their families.

A fuss of roosters shrieked all night.

We hear their songs no more, perhaps
just a village done in by war. Did it

matter so they weren’t us? Who forced us,

who stopped our ears against the cries
from a village wiped off the maps,

its town clock rent silent.


Republished from Norbert Hirschhorn’s new poetry collection, To Sing Away the Darkest Days – Poems Re-imagined from Yiddish Folksongs, published by Holland Park Press in May 2013

About the Author:

Norbert Hirschhorn is an Austrian-born poet who lives in London and Beirut. His poems have appeared in many journals in the USA and UK, including Acumen, Magma, Modern Poetry in Translation, PN Review and Poetry.