poetry by Yehuda Amichai; translation by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld

My Son Was Drafted

My son was drafted. We visited him at the army base, in the desert,
the desolation that tents and their ropes and tent-pegs
try to make us forget. The whitewashed stones along the path
were so blinding white-hot that I covered my eyes
like a Jewish woman lighting the Sabbath candles,
I sot down on a stone near an empty tin can, and the music
of the wind in that discarded can was all that ever happened,
all that ever would. From the distant sand dunes I heard scattered shots
like a nervous, insistent thumbing through the Book of Life and Death,
My son’s barefoot steps when he was a baby were louder
than his heavy boots in the fine mealy Negev sand.
I want my son to be a soldier In the British army,
guarding a palace in the rain, A tall fur hat on his head—
everyone staring at him while, without moving a muscle,
he’s laughing Inside.

Continue reading this article…

Already a subscriber? Log in above to keep reading. Or subscribe now for immediate access to the complete digital and print editions, plus exclusive online access to Lilith's back issues.

Unexpected Feminist Poems, from the Hebrew

The articles in this special section:

My Mother Was a Prophet

poetry by Yehuda Amichai; translation by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld

My Son Was Drafted

poetry by Yehuda Amichai; translation by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld

“Unborn”

from Leviticus Rabba 14:8; translated by Shirley Kaufman with Galit Hasan-Rokem

To My Country

poetry by Rahel; translated by Robert Friend