Poem of the Month, September 2012Posted: 2012/09/03
ON YOM KIPPUR
By Yehuda Amichai, translated from Hebrew by Ada Aharoni
On Yom Kippur in the year Tashkah,
I wore dark festive clothes
and ambled to the old quarter
I stood a long time
before an Arab’s nook-shop
not far from the Gate of Shechem,
a shop of buttons and zippers and rolls of thread
of all colors, and tie-tacs and buckles.
A bright light shone forth with many colors,
like an open tabernacle.
I told him in my heart that my father too
had a shop like his of threads and buttons.
I explained to him in my heart
about all the decades of years
and the causes and the events,
that I am now here
and my father’s shop is burnt there
and he is buried here.
When I finished it was closing time.
He too pulled the blind and locked the gate.
And I went back home with all those
who went to pray.