Thursday, September 17, 2009

What I'm Reading Today

The Power of Maps, by Denis Wood.
Influenza 1918, by Lynette Iezzoni
The Great Derangement, by Matt Taibbi
Unholy Business: a True Tale of Faith, Greed, and Forgery in the Holy Land, by Nina Burleigh.

The last one, Unholy Business, is really very dull. It is far less interesting than its subject matter which is the massive fraud that is Biblical Archaeology and the Antiquities Trade in significant Biblical "goodies" sold to both the Israeli Government and American Evangelicals. But there was one nugget in the book that is worth excerpting, on the even of Rosh Hashona, just because when you come across a great poem, you should share it. It is a poem by a, to me, unknown poet:

"...the late Israeli poet Dan Pagis, a Polish-born internationally known linguist who survived a notorious Nazi death camp at the River Bug in Romania where forty thousand Jews are believed to have been killed in just four days. One of Dan Pagis's best known poems is a spare piece that manages to encompass the catastrophe endured by twentieth century European Jewry in just six lines, called "Written in Pencil in the Sealed Railway-Car" ("Katuv b'iparon bakaron hehatum"):

here in this carload
i am eve
with abel my son
if you see my other son
cain son of man
tell him that i

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