Friday, December 12, 2008


ENCOUNTER (VAYISHLACH), by Rachel Barenblat (click here to listen)

When Esau saw him he came running.
They embraced and wept, each grateful
to see the profile he knew better than his own.

You didn't need to send gifts, Esau said
but Jacob introduced his wives and children,
his prosperity, and Esau acquiesced.

For one impossible moment Jacob reached out.
To see your face, he said, is like seeing
the face of God: brother, it is so good!

But when Esau replied, let us journey together
from this day forward as we have never done
and I will proceed at your pace, Jacob demurred.

The children are frail, and the flocks:
you go on ahead, he said, and I will follow
but he did not follow.

Once Esau headed out toward Seir
Jacob went the other way, to Shechem, where
his sons would slaughter an entire village.

And again the possibility
of inhabiting a different kind of story
vanished into the unforgiving air.

("Evolution of Forgiveness," a gouache and watercolor painting by am from the late 1980's)

(Photo of am in Plain, Washington, in October of 2007 -- contemplating "the possibility of inhabiting a different kind of story")


Dale said...

Wasn't that a wonderful poem? I was just blown away by it.

The Solitary Walker said...

I agree - I was blown away too by it.