How Can You Rest

My mother said she would rest only in the grave.

May she rest in peace, my mother.

She's been in her grave for more than 40 years,

she was 58 at her death

and to this day I can't understand

why she was in such a rush,

and to this day she gets no rest.

Going by what she's been telling me of late

she definitely is not getting any rest,

how can I rest, she says.

Ben-Gurion isn't getting any rest either.

A few days ago my Aunt Tsippora, my mother's sister,

died and was buried at Kibbutz Maoz Haim, which she founded

like Ben-Gurion founded this state.

There rise the Hills of Bashan, and her deathbed wends

slowly over the hills, the languor like the insufferable

summer of the Beit She'an Valley, and no haste from the hard rain.

I stood there in the valley, in the quiet mud, gazing

closely at my Aunt Tsippora as she descended

and I asked myself at the gaping grave why only my mother,

who had eight sisters

and two brothers, why only she gets no rest - but Tsippora rests.

Perhaps because she was the eldest, how can I rest she says,

and perhaps because I'm the son of her old age, how can you rest,

and perhaps because Hitler didn't kill her when he visited her Polish village


sending all its inhabitants down in the rain to the grave of her brothers and sisters

and now Ben-Gurion is getting no rest either.

MK Yossi Sarid has been minister of the environment and minister of education and has recntly resigned as chairman of Meretz. He has published a volume entitled "Meetings in Another Place - Poems."

Translated by Vivian Eden