Two Poems

At my death

I will weep for your anguish that I died.

 

Before my death I say,

with all tenderness I say,

that if you could weep only a little,

like the doe

I once saw shed a tear or two

and then quit the place of its weeping

and climb to a distant crag

to see the world beyond tears –

 

If you could—
then I too would find a great stillness

like a river becalmed between its banks

flowing going to my fate.

 


 

If I meet you

my allusions will not be

like fine birds with delicate wings.

They will be like murky words

whose darkly secret depths

will hurt you with pain.

 

Happy is he who hurts this night

in your honor.

 

How many have fallen

in their fields

in battles raging for serenity.

 

Poems also

fall in battles—

they break apart from their rhymes

like women from their jewels.

They are silent

until there comes one like you.

Until you come.

 

—translated by Leon Wieseltier

 

To read a review of a new documentary on Avraham Halfi, click here.

Comments

Suggested Reading

A Pinch of Levity

A Pinch of Levity

Stuart Schoffman

Is it true that three people are required to perfect a joke: one to tell it, one to get it, and a third not to get it? Stuart Schoffman tracks a single Jewish joke through multiple tellings.

Fictional Revisionism

Fictional Revisionism

Allan Arkush

The first time I picked up Joshua Cohen’s new novel, The Netanyahus: An Account of a Minor and Ultimately Even Negligible Episode in the History of a Very Famous Family, I put it down when I reached page eighty-four.