January 21 2018

To Be Quieter

In Kfar Blum, between the hills of Golan and the hills of Galilee,

my friend told me: “These hills once were seashore,

we are standing on what once was the floor of the sea.”

What does that require of us? To be quieter,

more transparent, to turn inward like fossil shells,

to be light and floating as seaweed.

Then we came to Menachemiya, “God Consoles,”

which lived up to its name and consoled us.

We spoke softly, like the soft hills this spring

near the quiet Jordan, under the sign “No One’s Here.”


Then we headed south. That waterfall on the Jordan River

soothes as it falls. Unlike a human being.

I thought about the power of damned-up water

and the power of water falling in a torrent,

the power of weeping and the power of restraint,

the power of a woman’s hair pulled back like a dancer’s

and the power of a woman’s hair bursting free and open like a dancer’s.

I thought about it all, and when I got home,

I told my children.

–Yehuda Amichai

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