The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Tuesday

Open Closed Open
By Yehuda Amichai
Translated by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld

I wasn't one of the six million who died in the Shoah,
I wasn't even among the survivors.
And I wasn't one of the six hundred thousand who went out of Egypt.
I came to the Promised Land by sea.
No, I was not in that number, though I still have the fire and the smoke
within me, pillars of fire and pillars of smoke that guide me
by night and by day. I still have inside me the mad search
for emergency exits, for soft places, for the nakedness
of the land, for the escape into weakness and hope,
I still have within me the lust to search for living water
with quiet talk to the rock or with frenzied blows.
Afterwards, silence: no questions, no answers.
Jewish history and world history
grind me between them like two grindstones, sometimes
to a powder. And the solar year and the lunar year
get ahead of each other or fall behind,
leaping, they set my life in perpetual motion.
Sometimes I fall into the gap between them to hide,
or to sink all the way down.


I spent all morning and most of the afternoon working on holiday cards and packages, which are now ready to be mailed; I just have the not-insignificant task of waiting in line at the post office tomorrow to buy stamps, get packages weighed and get everything in the mail. If you are getting a card from me, sorry about the decline in handwriting on the cards as I worked my way through the alphabet! There were nearly 120!

In the afternoon we had to go pick up older son from his chorus rehearsal, since there is no after-school activity bus on Mondays. Since we were already in the area, I stopped at some of the stores in Silver Spring, including House of Musical Traditions which I have never actually visited, though I have shopped at their booths at numerous folk festivals, Renaissance Faires and the like. I bought myself a lovely-sounding thumbdrum, eight keys in an octave that sounds more like harp than piano, which I have coveted for awhile, though what I really want is a carved lap harp (well, I REALLY want a Celtic harp but can't afford the harp or the lessons). I told them to call me when they get more of the lap harps with the Green Man carving back in stock.

A different musical tradition, here are carolers by the lake at Rio on Saturday night. It's a little weird to be discussing carolers when it was 72 degrees here on Monday...

...but there they were, framed by holiday lights, with geese honking on occasion in the background.

I had laundries going all day while working on cards, so I folded this evening while watching City of Angels, which I had previously avoided as I love Wings of Desire and was afraid it would ruin it but it was too different even to make an impression. Nic Cage and Meg Ryan are both performers I either love or despise in movies, there's very little middle ground, and I liked them both in this one. I found the ending gratuitously soppy (reminded me of how I felt watching Message in a Bottle...some screenwriters could take a lesson from The Horse Whisperer, which threw out the gratuitous overblown tragic oratorio of the novel and opted for a lower-key thoughtful ending).

Oh, and I completely forgot to mention that we watched Syriana on Saturday night while I was folding the cards that went into the envelopes today...I had moments of wishing the screenplay were a bit less didactic and moments of being so confused that I want a second viewing, but man, is the acting in that film great! And I love that it took so many risks, even in the places where I looked away for five seconds and got lost. Any movie that has me liking suicide bombers better than conservative Americans is getting under my skin in a good way.

Shatner's game show was cancelled after all...seemed the viewers it was attracting were all too old for ABC's desired demographic. They'll still air the seven in the can. Yeah, I have not exactly been on top of Trek news this month!

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