Sunday, December 28, 2008

requiescas in pace


In pace requiescas, Harold,
while you’re being Christmas caroled,
having died, most people say,
on what is known as Christmas Day
to goyim, but as Hanukkah
to Jews. Not just your moniker,
but all your history declares
that you were Jewish. But who cares?
Just those who think ethnicity
provides the electricity
that keeps a man alive, but you
denied this. For you, being Jew
became irrelevant, it seems,
as unremembered, drifting dreams
that self-extinguish, like the lights
of Hanukkah’s eight-candled nights.
Antisemites bothered you
as a youth, but when you grew
you came to see it as uncouth,
and deviated from the truth,
which is that Zion’s protocol
still takes from Jews a dreadful toll,
though one that didn’t toll for thee,
undone when from your Jewroots free.
Not atavistic was your tale.
All remnants, like the coccyx tail
reminding us we come from apes,
you thought of as mere phantom fetish,
a burden when you’re being British.
You specialized in silence. Rest
in silence, for you were the best
practitioner of this deep art,
which with your death will not depart
from all those who will long enjoy
what sounds the same to Jew and goy.

Inspired by Harold Pinter’s death today, December 25, 2008, the fourth candle of Hanukkah, 5769.

© 2008 Gershon Hepner 12/25/08


  1. Pinter was a great writer, but someone finally had to say this! And in flowing verse - thanks, Gershon!

  2. A very clever, apt and truthful description of Pinter's life and work.

    How charming to have these insights compressed into such delicately metered verse.

    As Pinter never said, "yasher koach."

  3. Dear Gershon, rabbi v'mori, welcome to the blogosphere. Your blog started is the only thing we can be grateful for to Harold Pinter.

  4. Ereyzer, hi: I do agree but... but... those pernicious seemingly unattached comments and silences are brilliant. Just as you need space to think in a painting, Pinter found it in words. What do you do with genius in a flawed human being? Chuck it out?

  5. I think Linda's Lookout is correct. Pinter's silence say it all, just as those of God said it all to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:12. Whatever you may think about Pinter's political opinions, he was a supremely great writer, perhaps even greater than Samuel Beckett because he was able to apply his insights to people who lved in the wildernesses of their homes rather than garbage cans.