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Shtume Shprakh (Mute Language)

Shtume Shprakh (Mute Language)

(originally in sonnet form)

I looked around — and saw that half
of my years are fading on the dirt road;
that over my life, there closes,
from my burial shroud, the first pale fold.
So I doubled up like a swallow,
that no longer finds her nest under the roof.
From youth I separated in mute language —
as a cow that accompanies her calf to the
slaughterer’s knife.
And old age starts to gnash with wrinkles,
The “Here lays hiddens” are embedded deep in the
skin of my countenance,
And pushes to the grave, and steeply accelerates
my fast decline toward there, where hair and whip
silence screech and hand-wave, where between walls
of silent grave rest legs and arms.

— Translated by Itzik Gottesman

Jeremiah Hescheles passed away October 16, 2010. Read a tribute to him here.

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