Wishing everyone a peaceful Christmas and 2024.
I want to share this poem, recently posted on WriteOutLoud, by Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai, which was published in his 1971 collection Not for the Sake of Remembering, a few years after the 1967 Six-Day War, fought between Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. In 1994, Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shared the Nobel peace prize with Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian National Authority, and Israel’s foreign minister Shimon Peres. Amichai was invited to participate in the prizegiving ceremony, where he read this poem:
Not the peace of a cease-fire
not even the vision of the wolf and the lamb,
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.
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
suddenly, because the field
must have it: wildpeace.
Translated by Chana Bloch