This was a season of our fathers' joy: 
not only when they gathered grapes and the fruit of trees 
in Israel, but when, locked in the dark and stony streets, 
they held--symbols of a life from which they were banished 
but to which they would surely return-- 
the branches of palm trees and of willows, the twigs of the myrtle, 
and the bright odorous citrons. 


This was the grove of palms with its deep well 
in the stony ghetto in the blaze of noon; 
this the living stream lined with willows; 
and this the thick-leaved myrtles and trees heavy with fruit 
in the barren ghetto--a garden 
where the unjustly hated were justly safe at last. 


In booths this week of holiday
as those who gathered grapes in Israel lived 
and also to remember we were cared for 
in the wilderness-- 
I remember how frail my present dwelling is 
even if of stones and steel.


I know this is the season of our joy: 
we have completed the readings of the Law 
and we begin again; 
but I remember how slowly I have learnt, how little, 
how fast the year went by, the years--how few.
 





Leave a Reply.