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Joram Rozov

A Shop on the Main Street, Israel, 1995

1975 Israel [ Oil on canvas 72x100 cm ]

The End and the Beginning

After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won't
straighten themselves up, after all.

Someone has to push the rubble to the side of the road,
so the corpse-filled wagons
an pass.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone has to drag in a girder to prop up a wall,
Someone has to glaze a window, rehang a door.

Photogenic it's not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

We'll need the bridges back,
and new railway stations.

Sleeves will go ragged from rolling them up.

Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls the way it was.
Someone else listens
and nods with unsevered head.
But already there are those nearby starting to mill about
who will find it dull.

From out of the bushes
sometimes someone still unearths
rusted-out arguments
and carries them to the garbage pile.

Those who knew
what was going on here
must make way for
those who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as little as nothing.

In the grass that has overgrown causes and effects,
someone must be stretched out blade of grass in his mouth gazing at the clouds.

Wislawa Szymborska