Jan 29, 2013

Remembering Hebrew

All the old vocabulary is shuffled
among a heap of useless knowledge
which has accumulated over the years like paperwork.

To speak is to fan the papers across a mental desk,
scanning frantically for a telltale watermark.
The words are all there somewhere.

If I were Israeli, maybe my ignorance
would make me a Gertrude Stein, a Kafka,
a Keret. I would feel out the failures

of language without losing its natural rhythm.
As I attempt Hebrew sentences, all that survives
is absurdity, what writers spend careers cultivating.

1 comment:

  1. "mental desk" doesn't really work for me. I get the impression for a moment that it's meant to be a "metal" desk, though I know that's not the case. I like this piece, though, and I definitely relate to the experience of losing Hebrew. I like the stanzas of 3 for this, as well.