For approximately two years, my poetry was featured bi-weekly on the editorial page of The Boston Jewish Times as a “verse treatment of contemporary Jewish affairs.”  The pieces, serious and sardonic by turns, addressed a mixture of political, historical, and philosophical themes.  Here are a few samples of that work:


Originally published in The Boston Jewish Times, April 2, 1992, Vol. XLII, No. 15, p.8.
© Copyright-1992-Jessie Seigel.  All rights reserved.

My eye met hers in the glass,
Hers the bit more haggard of the two,
But with an iron cast
That held fast my own.
So I told her his was
A blaggard’s curse.
“I can sympathize,” I said,
“With your situation.
The recitation of events yet to come
When no-one’s buying it
Can make one frantic.”
And yet, I thought,
This stuff about Apollo
Is pretty hard for me to swallow.

“Oh, that.”  She shrugged.  “It’s no great feat
To predict the fall of Rome
When one has seen the fall of Greece.
Nor should one need a crystal ball
To read the signposts of our history.
The mystery is that the rest,
From want of memory or of reason,
Cannot see a revolution of events
Which is as constant as the seasons.

“Cannot predict, as I have done,
From persecutions come before
Those that are still yet to come.
Nor glean from the misery
Inflicted cyclically from Hadrian to Hussein,
That what the past has rendered us
Will be rendered us again.  And–
While one may speak in whispers low,
Another rail against the blight,
And yet another strike a blow,
We are all caught up by the game,
The end of which is plain as plain
To those who know our history.”

“Your memory’s overlong,” I said,
Feeling weary and oppressed.
“And if whatever we do, there’s no redress,
Nothing to be done and
Nothing to be won,
What’s the use of knowing?”

Then I hung a cloth over the mirror
To escape that unrelenting eye;
To gain relief from the infernal repetition.

But from behind the cloth came her tenacious voice
As hard-edged as ever.
“You understand then.  The curse
Is no matter of disbelief.
Go hang cloth on the mirror.
Ban all mirrors from the house.
It’s but the solace of self-deceit.”



Originally published in The Boston Jewish Times, February 17, 1994, Vol. XLVIX, No. 11.
© Copyright-1994-Jessica Seigel.  All rights reserved.

Francisco Franco is dead,
Long dead,
And gone to meet his maker.
But his soul must wait
At the Pearly Gate
While the angels debate
–Con and pro–
The fate
Of that Generalissimo.

“Francisco, you waged a bloody war,”
Said Peter at the Gate.
“How many men’s deaths did you cause
To ruin an honest state?
How many torture, maim, and kill
To satisfy your iron will?
Speak up now, man, I pray!
What is it you have to say?”

Francisco, he was game.
He hadn’t an ounce of shame.
He said, “it is in the nature of man
To cozen his fellow man.
To use and abuse,
Confound and confuse;
The ruthless will win.
The fair always lose.
It’s only the nature of man.”

“Francisco, you’ve got me confused,”
Said Peter at the Gate.
“How is it a man of your views
Rescued forty-five thousand Jews
From Europe’s fascist states?
Francisco, speak up, I pray.
What is it you have to say?”

Francisco, he was game.
WIth a grin, he spoke out plain.
“It is in the nature of man,” he said,
“To care for his fellow man.
To pity a soul in deep distress;
Provide some solace and some redress;
The good must win sometimes,
I do confess.
It’s only the nature of man.

“The Lord only knows
What is meant by God’s plan.
But, it’s all in the nature of man.”

Note:  Franco, Spain’s ruthless dictator, who owed his rise in part to fascist backing, saved Jews from Hitler by declaring all Sephardic Jews to be Spaniards, declaring Ashkenazic Jews to be Sephardic, and issuing Spanish citizenship to both.



Originally published in The Boston Jewish Times, August 20, 1992, Vol. XLVII, No. 25, p.4. © Copyright-1992-Jessica Allegra Seigel.  All rights reserved.

Upon finding that I was an American,
A foreign gentleman inquired
In friendly fashion
What was my national ancestry?
When I replied,
“I am a Jew, Sir,”
He seemed perplexed and
Slightly consternated
That I should respond
To his amiable inquiry
WIth this extraneous reference
To religion.
But, after a pause, he said,
With a distant but polite nod,
“I am a Catholic, myself.”

Then I, with a congenial smile,
Said to him,
“I feel a peculiar affinity
For the Trinity.
I find the concept of three in one
Is most appealing.
With race, religion, and nation
Packed inside me
Like a portmanteau,
How could I not?

“And whenever I cross a border
I feel a transubstantiation beginning,
A transmutation which,
Although my trinity remains intact,
Urges me to seek
Communion with the natives
Of that whatever place
Who, oddly enough…
More often than not…
Feel no need themselves
To find communion with me.

“And always, I find it curious
That those whose faith
Is sufficiently catholic
To encompass
A Father,
A Son,
And a Holy Ghost,
Cannot fathom me.”



Originally published in The Boston Jewish Times, January 20, 1994, Vol. XLVIX, No. 10.
© Copyright-1994-Jessica Seigel.  All rights reserved.


One and one are two.
Two and two are four.
One answer must be right.
All others, then, are wrong.

You throw an apple up.
It surely must come down.
Figs falling from a tree
Will land upon the ground.

What’s right is always right.
What’s true is always true.
There’s certitude and light.
Men know what they must do.

But what if you sum
In a system of twos?
Ten thousand one hundred and ten
Is now equal to twenty and two.

How now if you live
In a stratosphere
Where gravity’s changed
By the rarified air?

What good does your
Certitude do for you


There are those in this world
Who would take us back
To the world we all knew
When the earth was flat.

I just don’t think I
Could live like that.