Skip to content

On my desk there is a stone with the word “Amen” on it,

a triangular fragment of stone from a Jewish graveyard destroyed

many generations ago. The other fragments, hundreds upon hundreds,

were scattered helter-skelter, and a great yearning,

a longing without end, fills them all:

first name in search of family name, date of death seeks

dead man’s birthplace, son’s name wishes to locate

name of father, date of birth seeks reunion with soul

that wishes to rest in peace. And until they have found

one another, they will not find a perfect rest.

Only this stone lies calmly on my desk and says “Amen.”

But now the fragments are gathered up in lovingkindness

by a sad good man. He cleanses them of every blemish,

photographs them one by one, arranges them on the floor

in the great hall, makes each gravestone whole again,

one again: fragment to fragment,

like the resurrection of the dead, a mosaic,

a jigsaw puzzle. Child’s play.

The Amen Stone

Chana Bloch & Chana Kronfeld, translation from
the Hebrew written by Yehuda Amichai

More from
Poem of the Week

Dzvinia Orlowsky

Wine of Angels

translated from the Ukrainian written by
Natalka Bilotserkivets