People of the Galilee are strong as the sun
crude as the terebinth gentle as the oak
burning like the fires of Sodom
moist as the salt of the sea
so far from their bodies.
And from the distance of closeness
and from the distance of distance
I grasp the rope at both ends
to my neck,
one to their neck,
cry out to them,
People of the Galilee!
Leave me alone
so I won’t be lost!
Let me look backwards
and my soul die with Gomorrah.
A thin thread binds me to you
pull on it and I go slack
and let it go slack and I pull!
You feel the same way.
All the people of the Galilee
were born from my womb
to be against me
I am of another mind.
They are but men
and something between me and them
breaks the laws of their fathers and sons.
In spite of me in spite of
I and the people of the Galilee walk
on a tight gallows rope of mine
or perhaps of theirs.
Breaches are mended in spite of the Galilee snows.
Olive trees bear fruit in winter
and the great stones grind everything together—
the oil to soothe our wounds
and the olive-dregs breathe attar in our nostrils
stopped up with the grippe of the Galilee.
I will go on ripping up my pages
and they will cut the rope between me and them
and blood shall flow.
I will be the victim to atone
for my sin
to my son.