Tradition & Innovation
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By Henny Wenkart

Whose smile is that?
Seated amid her women –
     her attendants in light and darker blues,
     her mother, his mother
My daughter beams at her beloved
     (the violin is singing, "A woman of valor who can find?")
Where he comes followed by his father, her father,
     her brothers, his brothers.
But whose smile is that on her face?

It is the smile of their private hours.
He is not surprised by it.

It transforms her face
Into not her face as I know her.
      A little it is like the smile of my mother,
      But not very like that.

It is
My daughter's smile as she is the woman of her man,
Properly unknown to me.

He puts the veil down over her face.


Used by permission of the author. From "Love Poems of a Philanderer's Wife." Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing, Tel Aviv, and Jewish Women's Resource Center, New York.