The School Where I Studied

I passed by the school where I studied as a boy

and said in my heart: here I learned certain things

and didn’t learn others. All my life I have loved in vain

the things I didn’t learn. I am filled with knowledge,

I know all about the flowering of the tree of knowledge,

the shape of its leaves, the function of its root system, its pests and parasites.

I’m an expert on the botany of good and evil,

I’m still studying it, I’ll go on studying till the day I die.

I stood near the school building and looked in. This is the room

where we sat and learned. The windows of a classroom always open

to the future, but in our innocence we thought it was only landscape

we were seeing from the window.

The schoolyard was narrow, paved with large stones.

I remember the brief tumult of the two of us

near the rickety steps, the tumult

that was the beginning of a first great love.

Now it outlives us, as if in a museum,

like everything else in Jerusalem.

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