My dear friend, I do not write these words
For you, but for myself. I write these words
For the pupa that has died, I write these words
Without pride but with illusions. I call these words
Hope. I crawl along with ancient rope, these words
Are scrawled upon the seams of my clothes, words
That sprawl, a river of ants that flows, these words.
You call the enemy to the gate, you loose the locks, you slay the sleeping guard,
You smash your compatriots’ foreheads, you drive them from their houses,
You pierce the fugitives, you curse the brother with whom you suckled at the breast.
You curse the multitude and bless the foe.
You seize your buckler, you strike your brethren, you trample underfoot, you raise your sword to kill.
None may flee before you, your wild warrior’s hair emboldens you.
You capitulated even in the womb,
To that you have turned ever since you were born.
You will surrender the southern lands, you will pay no heed to the northern lands,
You have been created to smite your sisters, to crush those who dwell along the borders.
When the enemy takes you, you will be bold, when he strips you of your linen, you will bow.
When he gouges out your eyes, you will execrate your brothers, when he tears out your tongue, you will rage against your mother.
When he seizes your house, he will cast you onto its fire, how your flaming hair will shine.
Yaacov David Shulman