My Parents' Motel 4
By Yehuda Amichai
My father was God and didn't know it. He gave me
the Ten Commandments not in thunder and rage,
not in fire or cloud, but with softness and love.
And he added gestures and good words,
added, Please and Welcome and intoned Remember and Keep
in one incantation, and pleaded and wept
between one commandment and the next.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,
Thou shalt not take, in vain, please,
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
And he held me tight and whispered in my ear,
Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not commit adultery,
Thou shalt not kill. And he placed his open palms on my head
in the Yom Kippur benediction, Honor, love,
so that thy days might be long upon the land.
And my father’s voice is as white as his hair.
Then he turned his face to me for the last time
as he did on the day he died in my arms and said:
I want to add two to the Ten Commandments:
The eleventh commandment, "Thou shalt not change"
and the twelfth commandment, "Change, thou must change."
So said my father and turned from me and went
and vanished into his mysterious distances.
This will be a quickie because Dementordelta is here and we are watching The Prince of Egypt in honor of Passover, which we celebrated along with my family and Paul's parents at my parents' house (and I am so stuffed I am going to explode -- matzah, haroset, soup, salad, veggie meatballs, potato pancakes, carrot souffle, several desserts). Early in the day my father took Adam to play tennis while Daniel and I watched Doctor Who's "Tooth and Claw" and I folded laundry -- I was in a Queen Victoria mood.
Then I took both kids to the dentist for their semiannual appointments (and discussed how soon each of them has to have his wisdom teeth removed, sigh). And then we came home to wait for my in-laws and went out for the Seder. Now Adam is sleeping over a friend's again and Daniel is counting down the minutes till Portal 2 comes out. Meanwhile on Tuesday, Delta and I are planning to spend all day watching The King's Speech on DVD and all the extras and The Real King's Speech from Discovery and Colin and Geoffrey at TIFF and recovering from our overeating!