Commentary Magazine


My Mother's Father

My mother’s father, crippled and seventy,
Waited for death on the living room
couch
And passed the time by reading Spinoza.

That Spring was coming he knew by the
clamor
Of boys below in the street, and the
bounce
Of their ball against pavement and building
and headache.

Although a Jew, my mother’s father
Preferred Spinoza to Talmud and Torah,
And would scoff at the sketch of a fidgety
godhead

Who altered his plans with every report
That the chosen people were disappointing
His faith in their sense of propriety.

The ball bounced in through the open window,
Skipped from the sill, and before he could
budge
Had bumped both glasses and book to the
floor.

My mother’s father, alone in the house,
Sick to his stomach and throbbing with
headache,
Studied the blur of the ball in his lap.

He groped for his glasses but couldn’t quite
reach them,
And couldn’t quite reach the Works of
Spinoza
Sprawled on their back by his crippled left
leg.

And so he prayed. He closed his eyes and
silently
Of Yaveh, Lord of Israel and Judah, asked
For “sense enough to place this minor accident,
This random crime, sub specie aeternitatis.”

_____________

About the Author




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.