Akiba: The Witness
By Muriel Rukeyser
Who is the witness? What voice moves across time,
Speaks for the life and death as witness voice?
Moving to night on this city, this river, my winter street?
He saw it, the one witness. Tonight the life as legend
Goes building a meeting for me in the veins of night
Adding its scenes and its songs. Here is the man transformed,
The tall shepherd, the law, the false messiah, all;
You who come after me far from tonight finding
These lives that ask you always Who is the witness –
Take from us acts of encounter we at night
Wake to attempt, as signs, seeds of beginning,
Given from darkness and remembering darkness,
Take from our light given to you our meetings.
Time tells us men and women, tells us You
The witness, your moment covered with signs, your self.
Tells us this moment, saying You are the meeting.
You are made of signs, your eyes and your song.
Your dance the dance, the walk into the present.
All this we are and accept, being made of signs, speaking
To you, in time not yet born.
The witness is myself.
The signs, the journeys of the night, survive.
We got back late from dropping Adam and Christine off in College Park after bringing them to my parents' for an early Seder -- they couldn't get away from school on Monday evening -- so this will be quick. I spent a lovely afternoon with Annmarie and Paul at Brookside Gardens beforehand, where there were hundreds of tulips, plus turtles, frogs, geese, catfish, tadpoles, and robins.
We went from there to pick up Adam and Christine, stopping on the way back to get Maddy who got let off work early and was able to join us for the seder at my parents' house with the Sherins and Goldmans, who are longtime friends (I went to nursery school with a child of each) and one of the Goldmans' grandsons. We ate a lot, had frogs on our head, and Elijah visited even though it was a day early!