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Poem

Amichai Chasson

America

Until the cable guy came, my grandfather made do with belated reports.
The New York Times was sent over the ocean and the sports section strained
To describe the ineffable scenario on the baseball diamond. A string of hits
Was converted to letters, digits were facts in the American League stats:
The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees had traded losses
And wins at a time when my grandfather on Hagilgal Street, Ramat Gan, watched
Golda Meir sweat black and white on television after Yom Kippur ended.
A few days later Nixon sent an airlift over the ocean,
Tanks and fighter planes to the front in the Golan and Sinai. My grandfather
Had been a navigator in the Pacific Fleet.

By the time the cable guy came my grandfather had already retired
In front of a colored screen. The pitcher threw a ball to the batter
Straight to him in his living room armchair.
I sat beside him in a baseball cap but I couldn't catch on
To the rules of the game (not even when we went down to the yard, bat in his hand
Mitt in mine, to toss the white ball from a child's bowshot length).
The final game of the World Series was broadcast on television
And the boy who I was wanted to watch Michal Yanai
On the Kids’ Channel. My grandfather was an indulgent man.

I admit that I laughed aloud in front of the screen yesterday in my parents' home
When the Israel national baseball team (a lineup of young Americans
With Stars of David embroidered on their skullcaps) made the quarterfinals
Of the World Baseball Classic. My grandmother sat in the corner,
Spreading a thick layer of peanut butter
On a thin cracker and dribbling strawberry jam like Uncle Sam's flag,
Make America great again.

אמריקה

אמריקה

עַד שֶׁבָּא מַתְקִין הַכְּבָלִים סָבִי הִסְתַּפֵּק בְּדִוּוּחִים מְאֻחָרִים.
הַנְּיוּ יוֹרְק טַיְמְס נִשְׁלַח מֵעֵבֶר לָאוֹקְיָנוֹס  וּמְדוֹר הַסְּפּוֹרְט הִתְאַמֵּץ 
לְתָאֵר אֶת שֶׁאֵין לְתָאֵר וְהִתְרַחֵשׁ עַל מִגְרַשׁ הַבֵּיסְבּוֹל. רֶצֶף חֲבָטוֹת
הוּמַר לְאוֹתִיּוֹת, מִסְפָּרִים יִצְּגוּ עֻבְדּוֹת בְּטַבְלְאוֹת הָאָמֵרִיקָן לִיג
בּוֹסְטוֹן רֵד סוֹקְס וְהַנְּיוּ יוֹרְק יֶנְקִיז הֶחֱלִיפוּ הֶפְסֵדִים
וְנִצְחוֹנוֹת בִּזְמַן שֶׁסָּבִי, בִּרְחוֹב הַגִּלְגַּל בְּרָמַת גַּן, רָאָה אֶת גּוֹלְדָה
מֵאִיר מַזִּיעָה בְּטֵלֵוִיזְיָה שָׁחוֹר-לָבָן בְּמוֹצָאֵי יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים.
כַּמָּה יָמִים אַחַר כָּךְ שָׁלַח נִיקְסוֹן רַכֶּבֶת אֲוִירִית מֵעֵבֶר לָאוֹקְיָנוֹס,
טַנְקִים וּמְטוֹסִי קְרָב לַחֲזִית בָּרָמָה וּבְסִינַי. סָבִי הָיָה נַוָּט בַּצִּי הַפָּסִיפִי.

עַד שֶׁבָּא מַתְקִין הַכְּבָלִים כְּבָר הָיָה סָבִי בְּפֶּנְסְיָה מוּל מָסָךְ צִבְעוֹנִי
הַמַּגִּישׁ זָרַק כַּדּוּר לַחוֹבֵט הַיְשֵׁר אֶל מְקוֹמוֹ בְּכֻרְסַת הַסָּלוֹן.
יָשַׁבְתִּי לְצִדּוֹ בְּכוֹבַע בֵּיסְבּוֹל אַךְ לֹא הִצְלַחְתִּי לִתְפֹּס
אֶת חֻקֵּי הַמִּשְׂחָק (גַּם לֹא כְּשֶׁיָּרַד אִתִּי לַגִּנָּה, מַחְבֵּט בְּיָדוֹ
וּכְפָפָה בְּיָדִי, זוֹרֵק אֶת הַכַּדּוּר הַלָּבָן כִּמְטַחֲוֵי יֶלֶד).
הַמִּשְׂחָק הָאַחֲרוֹן שֶׁל סִדְרַת הַגְּמָר שֻׁדַּר בַּטֵּלֵוִיזְיָה
וְהַיֶּלֶד שֶׁהָיִיתִי רָצָה לִרְאוֹת אֶת מִיכַל יַנַּאי
בֶּעָרוּץ הַיְּלָדִים. סָבִי הָיָה אָדָם וַתְרָן.

אֲנִי מוֹדֶה שֶׁצָּחַקְתִּי בְּקוֹל מוּל הַמָּסָךְ אֶתְמוֹל בְּבֵית הוֹרַי
כְּשֶׁנִּבְחֶרֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּבֵּיסְבּוֹל (שׁוּרַת צְעִירִים אָמֵרִיקָאִים
וְדִגְלֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל רְקוּמִים עַל כִּפּוֹתֵיהֶם) הִגִּיעָה לְרֶבַע גְּמַר
אַלִּיפוּת הָעוֹלָם. סָבָתִי הֵסֵבָּה בַּפִּנָּה,
מוֹרַחַת שִׁכְבָה עָבָה שֶׁל חֶמְאַת בָּטְנִים
עַל קְרֵקֶר דַּק וּמְטַפְטֶפֶת רִבַּת תּוּת אֲדֻמָּה כְּדֶגֶל הַדּוֹד סֵם,
מֵיק אָמֵרִיקָה גְרֵיט אֵגֵן.





 
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America

Until the cable guy came, my grandfather made do with belated reports.
The New York Times was sent over the ocean and the sports section strained
To describe the ineffable scenario on the baseball diamond. A string of hits
Was converted to letters, digits were facts in the American League stats:
The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees had traded losses
And wins at a time when my grandfather on Hagilgal Street, Ramat Gan, watched
Golda Meir sweat black and white on television after Yom Kippur ended.
A few days later Nixon sent an airlift over the ocean,
Tanks and fighter planes to the front in the Golan and Sinai. My grandfather
Had been a navigator in the Pacific Fleet.

By the time the cable guy came my grandfather had already retired
In front of a colored screen. The pitcher threw a ball to the batter
Straight to him in his living room armchair.
I sat beside him in a baseball cap but I couldn't catch on
To the rules of the game (not even when we went down to the yard, bat in his hand
Mitt in mine, to toss the white ball from a child's bowshot length).
The final game of the World Series was broadcast on television
And the boy who I was wanted to watch Michal Yanai
On the Kids’ Channel. My grandfather was an indulgent man.

I admit that I laughed aloud in front of the screen yesterday in my parents' home
When the Israel national baseball team (a lineup of young Americans
With Stars of David embroidered on their skullcaps) made the quarterfinals
Of the World Baseball Classic. My grandmother sat in the corner,
Spreading a thick layer of peanut butter
On a thin cracker and dribbling strawberry jam like Uncle Sam's flag,
Make America great again.

America

Until the cable guy came, my grandfather made do with belated reports.
The New York Times was sent over the ocean and the sports section strained
To describe the ineffable scenario on the baseball diamond. A string of hits
Was converted to letters, digits were facts in the American League stats:
The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees had traded losses
And wins at a time when my grandfather on Hagilgal Street, Ramat Gan, watched
Golda Meir sweat black and white on television after Yom Kippur ended.
A few days later Nixon sent an airlift over the ocean,
Tanks and fighter planes to the front in the Golan and Sinai. My grandfather
Had been a navigator in the Pacific Fleet.

By the time the cable guy came my grandfather had already retired
In front of a colored screen. The pitcher threw a ball to the batter
Straight to him in his living room armchair.
I sat beside him in a baseball cap but I couldn't catch on
To the rules of the game (not even when we went down to the yard, bat in his hand
Mitt in mine, to toss the white ball from a child's bowshot length).
The final game of the World Series was broadcast on television
And the boy who I was wanted to watch Michal Yanai
On the Kids’ Channel. My grandfather was an indulgent man.

I admit that I laughed aloud in front of the screen yesterday in my parents' home
When the Israel national baseball team (a lineup of young Americans
With Stars of David embroidered on their skullcaps) made the quarterfinals
Of the World Baseball Classic. My grandmother sat in the corner,
Spreading a thick layer of peanut butter
On a thin cracker and dribbling strawberry jam like Uncle Sam's flag,
Make America great again.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
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