Happy 90th Birthday, Bernard Kops

A series of new and unpublished poems by Britiain’s senior Jewish poet Bernard Kops, on his 90th birthday:


Early morning. I awake
and outside it is flaming June
and I must laugh
and wave back at the trees
waving wildly at me.
Is it good news or bad news?
No news I can deal with.
And the rain, and the rain, and the rain
pouring down God’s tears.
And I enter the joy of morning
where nothing happens
except the heart still beating
and therefore I am still alive.

And now my wife, my goddess, wakes
and smiles her beauty and throws
her face at me, opening up the calming
part of day before people come.
“Breakfast!” she sings. “Toast?”
And no one else about, no one else,
and later the bliss of coffee.
“No! No news! No news,” she cries.
“But turn up the music,” she sighs.
And I bow to her smiling command,
and I stretch my arms and yawn,
glad that nothing, nothing else happens.


So here I am
poking out my tongue in the dark,
laughing, crying and fully dead.
So, what’s the big deal?
In the dying room they laughed
when I begged them,
Can I take my mobile with me?
The dead are dead, they said.
But I’m still human, I cried.
And the dying still have desires
and dreams. Worth a try.
Sure. Okay. We’ll slip it in the fire with
your bones, they replied.

So here I am. And just to say
I’m sending this message
from the other side of time
in the desperate hope that I will find you.
I dreamed of you again last night
a million stars ago.
I hate these lonely shores.
If you receive this
please text me back.
Tell me you remember.
Say we were there. Tell me it happened.
And we loved.
And were loving.
Meanwhile I await. And wait!
And I shall wait forever.

Bernard Kops is a prolific dramatist, poet and novelist. He is the honorary life president of London’s Jewish East End Celebration Society. His memoir Bernard Kops’ East End was published in 2006 (Five Leaves Publications).

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