01 November 2011

Alive and Dead

My eight year old woke me up at 3 am to explain in no uncertain terms that she had just had a horrible nightmare.

"I was dreaming that the whole family was at the beach in Tel Aviv.  You were taking a nap, Dad, and a giant wave came and crashed into you."

Did I drown?

"No," she said.  "I just found it startling."

I put her back to sleep, checked the clock, and made my coffee.  Another sleepless night.  And let myself drown in translating some old poems from Yehuda Amichai and then the haunting prose of Aaron Appelfeld's new book.  It passed the time til the sun rose.

Appelfeld's voice, a faint remembrance like the wind, taking me back to a cafe in Jerusalem this past July where I heard him read.  And Amichai's voice, now long gone, but greatly alive, still, into the alchemy of this dark night.

Voices alive and dead, virtually indistinguishable in their richness, in their Jewishness.

I just found it startling.

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