On Rabbi Kook's Street

Yehuda Amichai

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On Rabbi Kook's Street
I walk without this good man--
A streiml he wore for prayer
A silk top hat he wore to govern,
fly in the wind of the dead
above me, float on the water
of my dreams.

I come to the Street of Prophets--there are none.
And the Street of Ethiopians--there are a few. I'm
looking for a place for you to live after me
padding your solitary nest for you,
setting up the place of my pain with the sweat of my brow
examining the road on which you'll return
and the window of your room, the gaping wound,
between closed and opened, between light and dark.

There are smells of baking from inside the shanty,
there's a shop where they distribute Bibles free,
free, free. More than one prophet
has left this tangle of lanes
while everything topples above him and he becomes someone else.

On Rabbi Kook's street I walk
--your bed on my back like a cross--
though it's hard to believe
a woman's bed will become the symbol of a new religion.

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