Jewish Journal

Yehuda Amichai Poems on this Yom Haatzmaut

by Rabbi John Rosove

April 26, 2012 | 6:50 am

An Arab Shepherd Is Searching For His Goat On Mount Zion
An Arab shepherd is searching for his goat on Mount Zion
and on the opposite hill I am searching for my little boy.
An Arab shepherd and a Jewish father
both in their temporary failure.
Our two voices met above
the Sultan’s Pool in the valley between us.
Neither of us wants the boy or the goat
to get caught in the wheels
of the “Chad Gadya” machine.
Afterward we found them among the bushes,
and our voices came back inside us
laughing and crying.
Searching for a goat or for a child has always been
the beginning of a new religion in these mountains.

On a roof in the Old City
laundry hanging in the late afternoon sunlight:
the white sheet of a woman who is my enemy,
the towel of a man who is my enemy,
to wipe off the sweat of his brow.

In the sky of the Old City
a kite.
At the other end of the string,
a child
I can’t see
because of the wall.

We have put up many flags,
they have put up many flags.
to make us think that they’re happy.
to make them think that we’re happy.

Not the peace of a cease-fire,
not even the vision of the wolf and the lamb,
but rather
as in the heart when the excitement is over
and you can talk only about a great weariness.
I know that I know how to kill,
that makes me an adult.
And my son plays with a toy gun that knows
how to open and close its eyes and say Mama.
A peace
without the big noise of beating swords into ploughshares,
without words, without
the thud of the heavy rubber stamp: let it be
light, floating, like lazy white foam.
A little rest for the wounds –
Who speaks of healing?
(And the howl of the orphans is passed from one generation
to the next, as in a relay race:
the baton never falls.)

Let it come
like wildflowers,
suddenly, because the field
must have it: wildpeace.

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Rabbi John L. Rosove assumed his duties as Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood in November 1988. A native of Los Angeles, he earned a BA in Art History from UC Berkeley...

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