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Sunday, November 12, 2006

 

Sunday After the Election (2006)


Poems by Karen Karpowich and Yehuda Amichai


Feels different than a week ago. I'm looking at the same street, trees, and neighbors. Yet, there is a difference. It is in my heart. The barbarians have been defeated. There is a sense of hope. I don't believe in miracles. Things are not going to change overnight, but they will not continue to worsen. There is hope that the soldiers would begin to return home, that fewer people would die because of actions of our government; hope that the abuse of power would be checked, the divisive rhetorics muted. Above all, there is hope that a few megalomaniacs would never again be so easily able to con us into going to war.
*
A Poem Against War

Near the band shell are Elms planted
for heroes of a forgotten war.
The trees create a thick canopy.
It’s cool. No grass grows.
A narrow path is pounded out by joggers
who pass never noticing the plaques
filled with names.
A child might say this place is haunted.
I only feel its sadness.
Young men who fought and died
never knowing what it is to live.
I walk here each day.
My pace quickens at its dark center.

---Karen Karpowich


Half The People In The World

Half the people in the world love the other half,
half the people hate the other half.
Must I because of this half and that half go wandering
and changing ceaselessly like rain in its cycle,
must I sleep among rocks, and grow rugged like
the trunks of olive trees,
and hear the moon barking at me,
and camouflage my love with worries,
and sprout like frightened grass between the railroad
tracks,
and live underground like a mole,
and remain with roots and not with branches, and not
feel my cheek against the cheek of angels, and
love in the first cave, and marry my wife
beneath a canopy of beams that support the earth,
and act out my death, always till the last breath and
the last words and without ever understandig,
and put flagpoles on top of my house and a bomb shelter
underneath. And go out on raids made only for
returning and go through all the apalling
stations—cat,stick,fire,water,butcher,
between the kid and the angel of death?
Half the people love,
half the people hate.
And where is my place between such well-matched halves,
and through what crack will I see the white housing
projects of my dreams and the bare foot runners
on the sands or, at least, the waving of a girl's
kerchief, beside the mound?

Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000), Translated by Chana Bloch And Stephen Mitchell

*****





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