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August 12, 2004

From Walking Words

by Eduardo Galeano

Window on the Word (VIII)

The woodsmen arrived, and the rabbi had nothing to offer them. So the rabbi went to the garden and spoke to it. He spoke to the plants with words that came from the damp earth, like them. And the plants received the words and suddenly matured and bore fruit and flowers. And thus the rabbi could tend to his guests.

The Cabala tells the story. And the Cabala says that the rabbi’s son wanted to do it too, but the garden was deaf to his words and not one plant believed or grew.

The rabbi’s son couldn’t do it. But the rabbi? Could the rabbi repeat his own feat? The Cabala doesn’t say. What would happen to the rabbi if neither the orange tree, nor the tomato plant, nor the jasmine tree ever answered him again?

Does the word know to fall silent when the moment that needs it has passed or the place that desires it has moved on? And the tongue, does it know how to die?

Posted by pogo at August 12, 2004 9:53 PM

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