1. In dreams, my mother and I try our hands at writing poems in Yiddish, a language I never learned and she has long forgotten. It is a failed effort at some peculiar form of resurrection, a coda for the clang of oven doors. vas hostu farloren farloren what have you lost? 2. In Sarajevo, the cellist played a concert in the bombed out square for 22 days, one day for each of his neighbors,killed waiting in line for bread. At the close of this century, how many days shall we play our instruments? a rettenish ich vil der epes fregen a riddle I will ask you a riddle. 3. Every soul has its mission, said Rabbi Isaac, but often it happens that the body is taken before the soul is able to finish its work. And then to achieve its purpose, a soul may join itself with that of a living person shah, shtil the rabbi will dance again der rebbe gayt shyn tantzen vider hush, silence 4. Shall I carry some soul with me into the new millenium? Some spirit deeply known, like my father, his labors interrupted? Or one unknown- an African storyteller lost in the middle passage, a new mother extinguished at Hiroshima, a lover, torn from the beloved in Dachau or Kosovo? 5. And how would you know if some soul has come to lodge with you? Would you dream of hills you have never seen, hum tunes of unknown origin? Or carry a great longing that can find no root, but tangles itself in the minutes and the hours a pain with no source? a rettenish ich vil der epes fregen a riddle I will ask you a riddle, 6. How shall we move lightly into new time burdened by the weight of ashes? Shall we dance with the longing of old bones which are not ours, but must become ours. If the world is to be redeemed, Rabbi Isaac said, every soul must complete its journey. farloren, vas hostu farloren what have you lost? 7. If every step makes the path, where should we begin? Shall we still sing songs in lost languages, or do we need a sound as yet unheard, some pure tone that will ease our way as we carry each other's souls towards completion, opening the way to new time when we will not be afraid of each other and we will not be afraid.
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