First we cry.
Then the tears turn to stone.
Then we remember just one thing:
The death of a son.
And nobody says a thing.
Or talks about the rain and how’s it going.
And another thing and another thing.
And the ear is in any case past hearing.
But we keep still.
And rise from the chair. And sit. And rise. Again.
And know just one thing:
He will not come again.
Master of nonsenses in the heart
And deeds in action,
Father of tortures for the hungry body
Feed me life
___________ and then I’ll know
There’s a great sun in your heaven
And much of its gold lights upon me.
Here I’ll stretch out my hand to you—
Make a donation.
I drew myself the kingdom of heaven
In memory of all my dead.
And they hear me calling their names
And answer me with a grin.
It’s sad without them in the rooms
Where they left their voices echoing.
I give them life—
All of my dead.
And they live it again
And for all time.
But it is sad without them in those rooms.
Without enfolding words.
In the rough. Like a hard stone. Bare.
Things being what they are.
The sun plays at rise and set,
Rise and disappear.
But such and such—not otherwise—
And the body hurts itself the hurt
Of the entire world.
Let rain fall. Like a rainy autumn
That’s awkward as a beast.
And then to stand before the face of God:
This is not your face. Not this.
A deep night that knows all,
Maybe prayer is good
On this night.
You say it
But not with your mouth open.
Nor with lips that sing.
You keep it very silent
In the lonely form.
Translated from the Hebrew by Atar Hadari
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.