Friday, September 30, 2016

"The Eve of Rosh Hashanah" by Yehuda Amichai

The eve of Rosh Hashanah. At the house that’s being built,
a man makes a vow: not to do anything wrong in it,
only to love.
Sins that were green last spring
dried out over the summer. Now they're whispering.

So I washed my body and I clipped my fingernails,
the last good deed a man can do for himself
while he's still alive. 

What is man? In the daytime he untangles into words
what night turns into a heavy coil.  
What do we do to one another—
a son to his father, a father to his son?

And between them and death there's nothing
but a wall of words
like a battery of agitated lawyers. 

And whoever uses people as handles or as rungs of a ladder
will soon find himself hugging a stick of wood
and holding a severed hand and wiping his tears 
with a potsherd. 

Discovered via this article by Rosie Schaap. 

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