Rosh HaShanah


Even after the murder
of the child Muhammad on Rosh HaShanah,
the paper didn't go black.
In the same water in which the snipers
wash their uniforms,
I prepare my pasta,
and over it pour
olive oil in which I've browned
pine nuts,
which I cooked for two minutes with dried tomatoes,
crushed garlic, and a tablespoon of basil.
As I eat, the learned minister of foreign affairs
and public security
appears on the screen,
and when he's done
I write this poem.
For that's how it's always been–
the murderers murder,
the intellectuals make it palatable,
and the poet sings.


                        Hebrew; trans. Peter Cole


Aharon Shabtai, Hebrew, trans. Peter Cole, J'Accuse, New Directions Publishing Corp., 2001.