Mark was kind enough to call my other blog "recently resuscitated"--by which he means, I take it, that both of them have been, well, a little slow recently. OK, more than a little. OK, worse than slow. Pining for the fjords.
Fair enough! It's been a busy time, this late July--in fact, late July is always rough water for me, thanks to the odd conjunction of my father's yahrtzeit, my late sister-in-law's birthday, and my own anniversary (among other things) within a week or so. Bittersweet, July.
It being August now, however, and time to move on, I thought I'd toss a poem or two onto the blog before running out to shop and get the kids. These have been on my mind, for obvious reasons: two of my favorites from Amichai, in Chana Bloch & Stephen Mitchell's Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai translations:
A Letter of Recommendation
On summer nights I sleep naked
in Jerusalem. My bed
stands on the brink of a deep valley
without rolling down into it.
In the daytime I walk around with the Ten
Commandments on my lips
like an old tune someone hums to himself.
Oh touch me, touch me, good woman!
That's not a scar you feel under my shirt, that's
a letter of recommendation, folded up tight,
from my father.
"All the same, he's a good boy, and full of love."
I remember my father waking me for early prayers.
He would do it by gently stroking my forehead, not
by tearing away the blanket.
Since then I love him even more.
And as his reward, may be be wakened
gently and with love
on the Day of the Resurrection.
A Song of Lies on Sabbath Eve
On a Sabbath eve, at dusk on a summer day
when I was a child,
when the odors of food and prayer drifted up from all the houses
and the wings of the Sabbath angels rustled in the air,
I began to lie to my fatehr:
"I went to another synagogue."
I don't know if he believed me or not
but the lie was very sweet in my mouth.
And in all the houses at night
hymns and lies drifted up together,
O taste and see,
and in all the houses at night
Sabbath angels died like flies in the lamp,
and lovers put mouth to mouth
and inflated one another till they floated in the air
Since then, lying has tasted very sweet to me,
and since then I've always gone to another synagogue.
And my father returned the lie when he died:
"I've gone to another life."