Literature and Poetry/
Pesach

Nathan Alterman

The Kid of the Haggadah

There in the market place, bleating among the Billy goats and nannies,
Wagging his thin little tail—as thin as my finger—
Stood the Kid—downcast, outcast, the leavings of a poor man’s house,
Put up for sale without a bell, without even a ribbon, for just a couple of cents. 

 

Not a single soul in the market paid him any attention,
For no one knew—not even the goldsmith, the sheep-shearer—
That this lonesome little Kid would enter the Haggadah
And his tale of woe become a mighty song. 


But Daddy’s face lit up,
He walked over to pat the Kid’s forehead—and bought him.
And so began one of those songs
That people will sing for all history. 

 

The Kid licked Daddy’s hand,
Nuzzled him with his wet little nose;
And this, my brother, will make the first verse of the song:
“One only Kid, one only Kid, that my father bought for two zuzim.” 

 

It was a spring day, and the breezes danced;
Young girls winked and giggled, flashed their eyes;
While Daddy and the Kid walked into the Haggadah
To stand there together—small nose in large hand, large hand on small nose. 

 

To find in the Haggadah—
So full already of miracles and marvels—
A peaceful place on the last page,
Where they can hug each other and cling to the edge of the story. 

 

And this very Haggadah whispers,

"Join us…you’re welcome here … you belong,
Among my pages full of smoke and blood,
Among the great and ancient tales I tell.” 

 

So I know the sea was not split in vain,
Deserts not crossed in vain—
If at the end of the story stand Daddy and the Kid
Looking forward and knowing their turn will come. 

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