The Amen Stone by Yehuda Amichai

The Amen Stone

On my desk there is a stone with the word “Amen” on it,
a triangular fragment of stone from a Jewish graveyard destroyed
many generations ago. The other fragments, hundreds upon hundreds,
were scattered helter-skelter, and a great yearning,
a longing without end, fills them all:
first name in search of family name, date of death seeks
dead man’s birthplace, son’s name wishes to locate
name of father, date of birth seeks reunion with soul
that wishes to rest in peace. And until they have found
one another, they will not find a perfect rest.
Only this stone lies calmly on my desk and says “Amen.”
But now the fragments are gathered up in lovingkindness
by a sad good man. He cleanses them of every blemish,
photographs them one by one, arranges them on the floor
in the great hall, makes each gravestone whole again,
one again: fragment to fragment,
like the resurrection of the dead, a mosaic,
a jigsaw puzzle. Child’s play

Yehuda Amichai

Yehuda Amichai
Born: 3 May 1924, Würzburg, Germany
Nationality: Israeli
Died: 22 September 2000, Israel

Amichai was a poet, and he was regarded, both within Israel and internationally, as Israel’s greatest modern poet, and one of the world’s leading poets of his time. He wrote two novels and several short stories and was amongst the first to write in colloquial Hebrew

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