The Son of the Wall

By Avot Yeshurun Avot Yeshurun

Translated By Leon Wieseltier Read the translator's notes

The Christian cannot   
be the pitying one
because he is
the one pitied.

From a dusty road
in a straight line
from przedmiescie to Krasnystaw
at the entrance to town

at Zhitkovski's   
in his house we lived,
he makes coffins
with crosses.

On the threshold
I sat as a boy
opposite a building
held together by nails

facing the church
the cloister the impurity,
my mother says,
I sat as a boy.

On the wall
Jesus and Mary.
Jesus and his mother
were never parted.

My mother's son
left her
not to be
on the wall.

Mary's son   
never left,
and he paid
the price.

—October 26-29, 1989

Source: Poetry (April 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2008


Avot Yeshurun (1904–1992) was born in the Ukraine and immigrated to Palestine in 1925, where he worked as a laborer, wrote poems, and led an active political life.

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Poems by Avot Yeshurun

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Faith & Doubt

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