Sunday, May 28, 2017

Memorial Day

Memorial Day in Port Sanilac, Michigan
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis, CA

—Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000)

Memorial day for the war dead.  Add now
the grief of all your losses to their grief,
even of a woman that has left you.  Mix
sorrow with sorrow, like time-saving history,
which stacks holiday and sacrifice and mourning
on one day for easy, convenient memory.

Oh, sweet world soaked, like bread,
in sweet milk for the terrible toothless God.
“Behind all this some great happiness is hiding.”
No use to weep inside and to scream outside.
Behind all this perhaps some great happiness is hiding.

Memorial day.  Bitter salt is dressed up
as a little girl with flowers.
The streets are cordoned off with ropes,
for the marching together of the living and the dead.
Children with a grief not their own march slowly,
like stepping over broken glass.

The flautist’s mouth will stay like that for many days.
A dead soldier swims above little heads
with the swimming movements of the dead,
with the ancient error the dead have
about the place of the living water.

A flag loses contact with reality and flies off.
A shopwindow is decorated with
dresses of beautiful women, in blue and white.
And everything in three languages:
Hebrew, Arabic, and Death.

A great and royal animal is dying
all through the night under the jasmine
tree with a constant stare at the world.

A man whose son died in the war walks in the street
like a woman with a dead embryo in her womb.
“Behind all this some great happiness is hiding.”


—Medusa, reminding you of Poetry on Main Street, the open mic for poets and musicians today from 4-6pm in Placerville at The Wine Smith, 346 Main St. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

And thank you to Katy Brown for her Port Sanilac photo today! Katy has a new album on Medusa’s Facebook page, featuring photos of last Friday’s The Other Voice reading in Davis. Find it on Facebook at Medusa’s Kitchen/Rattlesnake Press.

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.