Literature and Poetry/
Yom Hazikaron

Nathan Alterman

The Living Man

And a living man muttered to his heart, as a battle was raging.

His hand is carving your fate. And do not say: "My foundation is dust.

Your life force is from the stranger who fell beneath you.

Your foundation is from the stranger.

Your existence is from he who lived and had fallen in battles of cities or in the valley.

 

This is the nature of time. This is its designated path.

The soul of the living who survives - it produces from a man who has fallen in exhaustion.

And it seals the robber's mark on it.

And our lives carry on, as they continue ahead,

with the seal of the grantor and the seal of the receiver.

 

And the survivor said: he, from whom my soul was given to me as booty,

shall not rise to rebuke.

Yet he exists silently in my vein as in a red ladder,

on which his life ascends together with mine.

With my life, as it rises and proceeds on the way,

his estranged life quietly ascends with me.

 

 

Alongside me he is second on the second ladder

 as an anonymous, tangible entity.

And he is a faint rustle swallowed up in my commotion,

 as a net is braided within a net.

And he is a light noise with no sound

 yet is listened to by that great land and its skies.

And my laughter is sometimes not all mine

And my silence - is such that a stranger may touch.

 

And I said: "I shall chase away my brother from my border"

And the days feared as if they lost their anchor.

And the days feared as if they lost their anchor.

And the established kingdom was about to be destroyed.

And in a moment anarchy would undermine the law.

And the city shall be bent and its scales be twisted.

Since cities and streets were built upon

alliances between those adjacent.

And a society's era is built upon changes.

And a society's era is built upon changes.

 

which reveal the foundations of its pillars

This is the nature of the time and its rules.

As a law that shall not be violated it determined,

that among those who fill it,

there shall be a dead man and a living man.

In this way, they both carry a single rod.

In this way, they both carry a single rod.

Strangers and brothers like fire and water.

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