I'll Be Magnified
by Yehuda Amichai translated by Glenda
Abramson from London Magazine. Taken from "A
Touch of Grace" Poems by Yehuda Amichai,
Photographs by Didier Ben Loulou, an exhibition
publication of the Museum on the Seam for
Dialogue, Understanding, and Coexistence in
Between things falling and those hastily
Is there place for one who lingers, one who
Between things dying and those living
Is there place for one living quietly in his
One who stays where he is, one who sees, one
who is seen?
I'm a judge, alone in judgement on the
There is no accuser, no accused,
Only witnesses and testimony.
In my childhood I knew about illness in
I understood sick animals,
When I grew up I learned that trees too
Can be ill and suffer in silence.
I'll live long enough to understand a sick
A suffering rock, a boulder in pain.
The universe will come full circle in me,
The inanimate speaks softly, the living stays
This is my place
And in this way I'll be magnified
The first line gets me, especially now, post
9/11. "Between things falling (e.g. the world
trade centers) and those hastily being raised
(war plans), Is there a place for one who
lingers, one who remains?
"Between things dying (e.g. our idea of what
the world was like and what was possible, 6,000
people) and those living (the survivors, all
those who walked out of those buildings and
walked out of the death zone to the north and to
the east in a mass exodus), Is there a place for
one living quietly in his house? (Is there any
I've struggled with identifying who the voice
speaking is in the poem. I resonate most with
the speaker being God. God is on its own course
of evolution, and through the revelation of this
poem we learn that "yitgadal v'yitkadesh"
is an attempt for us to model God's own process
of expansion of empathy, which is ultimately
implemented by human beings through silence.