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The Music of Now: Farewell Letters
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This project is funded by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

+ About the Performance
This program was recorded 02/28/2013 at Symphony Space.

The Colorado Quartet bids farewell after an illustrious career of 30 years with their final New York performance. Featuring a world premiere by composer Tamar Muskal based on "Farewell Letters to the Beloved One" by Hanoch Levin, the evening pairs this haunting new work with Leoš Janáček's "manifesto on love," the Quartet No. 2, Intimate Letters.




Leoš Janáček (1854-1928)

String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters (1928) 

I. Andante – Con moto – Allegro

II. Adagio – Vivace

III. Moderato – Andante – Adagio

IV. Allegro – Andante – Adagio


A conversation with members of the Colorado Quartet, Tamar Muskal, and Laura Kaminsky


Tamar Muskal (b. 1965)

Farewell Letters to the beloved one for String Quartet and Soprano (2013) *World Premiere*

I. The Machine Room of Love

II. The Warrior

III. Awaiting Your Arrival

IV. Labor

V. As You Crouch at the Pit’s Edge

+ About the Artists

The Colorado Quartet has been a ground-breaking ensemble for nearly three decades. Catapulted onto the scene by back-to-back wins at the Banff International String Quartet and Naumburg competitions, it was the first all-women quartet to attain international stature. The Colorado Quartet has taught at Yale University and held residencies at the Oberlin College-Conservatory, the Banff and Orford Centres in Canada, Amherst, Swarthmore, and Skidmore Colleges and the New School of Music in Philadelphia. It has held master classes on four continents in different languages and in the U.S. They received a grant from the Lila Wallace/ Reader’s Digest Foundation to collaborate on this program with book groups and church organizations in under-served communities in Iowa, and have taken this approach into the Bard Prison Initiative.

In addition to appearing on the major concert stages of the world, the members of the Colorado Quartet are deeply committed to commu- nicating with a wide range of audiences, from grade-school children to professionals to prison inmates. During their tenure as Visiting Professors at Bard College, they developed a lecture series that places the quartet literature within a cultural context, making it relevant to today’s listener.

The Quartet plays new works by composers of many nationalities, and has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Meet the Composer Foundation, Fromm Foundation, and BMI. Recordings and live concerts by the Colorado Quartet are frequently heard on radio and TV worldwide including the BBC and CBC, National Public Radio, St. Paul Sunday; and TV programs in Europe, South America, and Japanese NHK. The Colorado Quartet is Artistic Director of the Soundfest Chamber Music Festival and Quartet Institute on Cape Cod, founded in 1991, which receives funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Arthur Foundation.

Winner of two Walter W. Naumburg Awards, soprano Lucy Shelton continues to enjoy an international career bringing her dramatic vocalism and brilliant interpretive skills to repertoire of all periods. An esteemed exponent of 20th- and 21st-century repertory, she has premiered over 100 works. Notable among these are song cycles by Elliott Carter and Oliver Knussen; chamber works by Joseph Schwantner, Mario Davidovsky, Augusta Read Thomas, Bruce Adolphe, Alexander Goehr, Poul Ruders, Anne Le Baron, Warren Benson, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Charles Wuorinen. She has also premiered orchestralworks by Knussen, Albert, Schwantner, David Del Tredici, Gerard Grisey, Ezra Laderman, Virko Baley, and Ned Rorem; and an opera by Robert Zuidam.

An avid chamber musician, Shelton has been a guest artist with ensembles such as the Emerson, Brentano, Enso, Mendelssohn, and Guarneri string quartets, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Speculum Musicae, Da Capo Chamber Players, Sospeso, Da Camera of Houston, eighth blackbird, the Nash Ensemble, Klangform Wien, Schoenberg-Asko, Ensemble Moderne, and Ensemble Intercontemporain. Shelton has participated in numerous festivals including those of Aspen, Santa Fe, Tanglewood, Chamber Music Northwest, BBC Proms, Aldeburgh, Caen, Kuhmo, Togo, and Salzburg.

Highlights of recent seasons include Shelton’s 2010 Grammy Nomination (with the Enso Quartet) for the Naxos release of Ginastera’s string quartets, her Zankel Hall debut with the Met Chamber Orchestra and Maestro James Levine in Carter’s A Mirror on Which to Dwell, multiple performances of Pierrot Lunaire in collaboration with eighth blackbird.

A native of California, Shelton’s primary mentor was Jan De Gaetani. She has taught at the Third Street Settlement School in Manhattan, Eastman School, New England Conservatory, Britten-Pears School, and the Cleveland Institute. She joined the resident artist faculty of the Tanglewood Music Center in 1996. In 2007, she was appointed to the Manhattan School of Music’s Contemporary Performance Program faculty.

Tamar Muskal studied viola, music theory, and composition at the Rubin Academy for Music and Dance in Jerusalem earning her BA in 1991. Ms. Muskal came to the United States in 1994 and subsequently earned her Master’s degree from Yale University. She continued her studies at the City University of New York. Recent and future commissions include a piece for clarinet and marimba for Richard Stoltzman and Mika Yoshida (Carnegie Hall), a solo piano piece for Benjamin Hochman, a cello concerto for Maya Beiser and the Argentinean Orquesta Sinfónica de Entre Ríos, a double concerto for violin and cello for the Williamsport Symphony, a bassoon and strings quintet for players of the Israeli Philharmonic, a song cycle for voice and string quartet for the 2009 Grammy winner Hila Plitmann on poems by David Grossman, a piano trio for the Salt Bay Chamber Music Festival, a piece for eighth blackbird along with three interactive videos by Daniel Rozin, a piece for cello, oud, and percussion for Maya Beiser (a Carnegie Hall commission), and a commission from the New York Whitney Museum to write music for two silent films by Alice Guy Blanche. Ms. Muskal has also served as

the Westchester Philharmonic’s education composer-in-residence from 2001-2004, and in that capacity has written three orchestral pieces

based on students’ artwork and poetry. Ms. Muskal also focuses on music for theater; recent works include Angels in America performed in Cincinnati, The Labor of Life and The Seven Beggars performed at La Mama Theater in New York, and Cristabel and Trojan Women performed in New Haven.

Laura Kaminsky is a composer with “an ear for the new and interesting” (The New York Times). She has received commissions and awards from the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, NEA, Aaron Copland Fund, NYSCA, and Chamber Music America, among others. She is also on the faculty of the Conservatory of Music at SUNY Purchase. A recording of Kaminsky’s chamber and solo music was recently released by Albany Records, featuring the Colorado Quartet, along with the Cassatt Quartet and Ensemble Pi.

+ About the Music

Leoš Janáček: String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters (1928)

In the summer of 1917, Janáček, a 63-year-old composer little known outside his homeland, met Kamila Stosslova, a beautiful, 25-year-old married woman with a small child, and fell madly in love with her.

Over the final eleven years of his life, she was the inspiration for an outpouring of masterpieces by the aging composer: four operas, two string quartets, a mass, tremendous orchestral works, and numerous choral and chamber pieces—as well as 600 letters written to her. Janáček’s love for Kamila was entirely platonic—and one sided. Mystified by the composer’s passion, she responded with affectionate friendship and encouragement, content to serve as Janacek’s muse. Fortunately her husband was understanding—unlike Janáček’s furiously jealous wife.

Janáček said that all of his late works were, at some level, an expression of his love for Kamila, and the second string quartet made that love explicit. During the winter of 1928 he composed the quartet in just three weeks. He originally nicknamed it “Love Letters,” but later decided to call it by its now familiar name.

In his letters, Janáček explained that each movement had a particular program. The opening movement was inspired by his first meeting with Kamila at a health spa in the summer of 1917. In the second movement the composer contemplates the vision of Kamila giving birth to a son and considers the boy’s future. Marked contrasts of mood characterize the third movement, which Janáček described as “melting into a vision of you.” This movement explores two themes through tempos and textures that vary continuously. The final movement expresses Janáček’s “fear for you—however it eventually sounds not as fear, but as longing and fulfillment.” “Intimate Letters,” he tells Kamila, “was written in fire.”

This music is passionate and intense, characteristic of Janacek’s extremely compressed late style. Themes tend to be short; tempos shift abruptly in this tightly unified music where even accompaniment figures have thematic importance.

The viola, which assumes the persona of Kamila, has a dominant role in the quartet. The full-blooded opening—a fortissimo trill in the cello and an opening theme in the violins—gives way to the first true theme. An eerie unsettling melody, it appears in the viola with Janáček’s instruc- tions to play it sul ponticello (on the bridge). The theme recurs many times in the movement, which shifts between the lyrical and the harshly dramatic. The movement, Janáček said, reflected Kamila’s disquieting arrival in his life.

The contrasting Adagio is based largely on the opening melody presented in the viola; the movement rises to a climax marked Maestoso (majestically) before closing. The Moderato begins with a lilting dance in 9/8, followed by a lyric violin duet. The climax of this movement is stunning: the music comes to a stop, after which the first violin rips out a stabbing entrance on its highest E—marked appassionato—in an explosive variation of the preceding duet tune. The concluding Allegro, a rondo, gets off to a good-natured start with a theme that sounds as if it might have folk origins, but it is Janacek’s creation. Characterized by frequent mood and tempo changes, and driven by furious trills and other ornaments, the music brings the quartet to an impassioned close.

—John Noell Moore


Tamar Muskal: Farewell Letters to the beloved one for String Quartet and Soprano (2013)

Farewell Letters to the beloved one by Hanoch Levin was originally written in Hebrew. Hanoch Levin was Israel’s top dramatist, best known for his plays, but was also a theater director, an author, and a poet. Farewell Letters to the beloved one is a collection of nine letters where a dead man is writing to his lover who is alive. I chose to set five of them to music and wrote it to soprano and string quartet. As all other Levin’s texts, it is extremely creative, rich, emotional, sensitive, and sensual. The text goes often to extreme situations and Levin always finds the most creative way to describe it accurately. These extreme moments are often delivered musically through extreme registers, big contrast in textures, and dynamics and expressive harmonies progressions. The piece was commissioned by the Colorado String Quartet in collaboration with Symphony Space.

—Tamar Muskal

The Machine Room of Love

The familiar posture of love: lowered head, irate-servile grin, body hunched almost in two by the powerful blow to your gut.

And so, bent over, your hair almost brushing the floor, you clamber down the ladder, down to the machine room of love: we suffer here, the air is dense, filled with harsh vapors. Here we work shift after shift, day and night, amidst soot, airlessness and sweat. We never imagined it would be so hard. The magazines showed us tranquil islets, radiant dawns and sunsets. What are all those to me? I am submerged in my grueling labor. The blare is deafening. Even if I yelled with all my might “I love you”- who would hear me? My eyes are burning, I must toil on with tight lips, in rivers of sweat.

No longer do I ask: Where am I? Where will I end up?

Awaiting Your Coming

There is strange pleasure, as I lie on my back, in arching it suddenly, in saying to myself: “Thus, ever watchful, straining all my senses, I await you.” As the waiting begins, a month or so before your longed-for arrival, I am unbearably tense. I do not know if the hour will ever come, it lies so far ahead. Some two hours before your arrival, a kind of peace descends on me, attainment is within reach. But in the final minutes I seem to be thrust back again, light years separate us; second after second of awaiting the tap tap of your heels—all these are galaxies I must pass through. Laboring strenuously, exhausted and frayed, like one who has crouched for years over a slave ship oar, I arrive at the destined hour. What an odyssey!

You can best comprehend how vast is my effort by remembering that the next wait for your coming has already begun—why say ‘begun’, no, it continues!—born out of the wait that preceded it.

Absorbing Your Image into a Doomed Brain

As we sit at table together, or walk the streets, I suck you into my being, a giant mosquito plunging its antennae into you, imbibing, imbibing your blood. Impervious to the world, I have nothing but your image. On you, only you, I gorge, feast on you, with limitless gluttony, never satiated.

And when I have taken my fill, I retire to a corner and digest your movements, your words, all the particles of your image, in minute detail. All is recorded, all constructed and dismantled, ground up and glued together over and over with endless toil.

In my brain, it is all in my brain but not for long. Your image is absorbed into a doomed brain. The abundance of your details, your glory, all the mighty repertory stored in disarray, the vast stage set constructed with enormous effort, all will crumble into fine dust. What will become of the efforts at construction and conservation? Where is the project of love? I pondered you and fashioned you in my imagination at least like the myriad buildings in a huge city—imagine a Paris of sorts, the frontages of its houses draped in the soft veil of your visage—that Paris will fall into ruin.

You see only my imbibing mouth, stained with your blood; you do not hear the sigh which accompanies the imbibing, almost unheard, the music of the brain aware of the futile efforts of the mouth.

And as you sleep—now, early in the morning—your brain exuding the juices of dreams, my own brain oozes the sorrow of loss. Listen to the brain at its silent grieving.

Sentenced to Imprisonment in an Everlasting Dungeon

Condemned to eternal incarceration in a dungeon, merely because I have died. I have wronged nobody. The reverse is true, I grew slowly weaker until I ossified one night into an inanimate object. For that I am led in public by a throng of jailors and witnesses and bystanders, you among them, to immurement in the dungeon of the earth. You will all walk away, I will not. Soundlessly I whisper to you, as I jolt along on the black wagon on my way to the pit:

You know, it is pointless to pretend, you are leaving me. I am condemned to lower status than the roaches swarming on your sewage pipes. A covert dream fills my heart—to be there in their stead, clinging to the pipes, I must not move, my life now is a yearning for water, your water, trickling through the pipes after you bathe or defecate, for the knowledge that our common enterprise on this earth is not ended. My smile is faint, my head bowed as the murky water flows over me and you stand serenely in the shower. Sometimes, your voice reaches me, dimly, but not often. Usually I hear only the rush of the water. First I bend my head, the drops pattering on my head and face. In time, not at all long, I turn my face upward, open my mouth to take in your water. You do not know yet what a lover I am! With unrivaled fervor, I fill my mouth with the water that has touched your skin. I swill it from cheek to cheek, toy it with my tongue. But the gist is not there, not there, not in the flow of the cloacal water into my mouth, not in how I unite with you, with what love and surrender. The gist comes before, in the edgy anticipation of your entry into the bathroom. For hour upon hour every day, trans- formed into a waiting entity, into prodigious anticipation of the spray of foul water from the only woman on earth—could there be a more noble objective in one’s life? Am I not bringing to fruition what I sought for so many years: to suffer down below you in the dark without your knowledge.

The lover’s anticipation, the beloved’s forgetting, and all against a soiled background—a long–awaited life which I will never attain.

The Warrior

As if a trumpet call sounds inside me, shaking my being, and something within me draws itself proudly upright, ready for battle. I am like some primeval man, or an Indian in crude war paint, brandishing an axe, against whom? Where is the foe?

Inside me, like a doll inside a doll, are thousands of Indians, each paler, less daubed than the one above it, its stance more hesitant, finally reaching a very white Indian, sallow perhaps, an ancient Mongolian male or female, inside it rest other ancient crones, long since not Mongolian. The reverse is true, they are more and more daughters of our people, and finally, in the inner space, a hunchbacked ancient crone, and inside her a thousand crones who become increasingly childlike, dolls inside child dolls, each more terrorized than the one above it, until we reach the center, the fearful and diminished child. Thousands of dolls we were forced to dismantle before we reached the core, and that too was not the true core, for inside the suffocating child there is no image at all; what quivers there is the essence of horror, the knowledge of failure, the never-ending affirmation of the most hideous of all.

When I touched you, pressing my forehead hard against you, I succeeded in checking the tremor.

As You Crouch at the Pit’s Edge

Understand this, that I can do nothing. It is I lying prone, I who wait at the bottom of the pit. And in the brief moment between interring my corpse in the depths and covering it with bricks, when nothing separates us, then, if you come close to the rim of the pit, gaze down at me from above, the shadow of your head and shoulders will rest on me for a moment. This is our ultimate contact in this world.

And if they should say: “But the shadow, the shadow is all that you are not, it is all the rays of light which are blocked by you” I will answer: No matter, that too is good, for your shadow is not the non-being of someone else, it is your non-being.”

If a cloud should pass then and hide the sun, or if I should die in winter when there are no shadows, it will suffice if you cast a brief look at me. When your gaze rests on me, rays of light will break loose from my body shrouded in black—it too a kind of shadow—and be drawn into your eyes.

With sprightly speed I will leap into your brain, a dark eel, take up residence in you, nest in you, first with a faint tremor, then quietly, a little modest shadow, thus I will be until I fade.

You will walk away from there, a living being in motion with swaying limbs; remember one who lies stretched out, frozen in place. For it was thus, at least, that I awaited you in life as well.


A sorry state of affairs. I am bone-weary after a night of anticipation. It seems that the fight for you has not yet been resolved. The tumult and dust have not died down, there is unflagging hard labor: you are wanted. Mighty forces are battling for your heart. They quarry, hack away, cut stone without pause. None have strength remaining, some have forgotten the aim, but still the hammers rise and fall.

My own strength is exhausted. More energetic people have come to rule the world. My head lowered and aslant, I shall make way with a semi-dandified movement, I shall gesture with a twisted offended smile, and with a gulp.

“But listen,” I clutch at your sleeve suddenly as you pass me by. “Did you really think I would let go! How can I let go? It is harder to roll the burial slab in place on my love than to carve the stone! I am here, beside you, around you, I will ask to oversee the digging of the tunnel that leads to you; with great cunning I will evade arduous labor, I will supervise the many laborers, and when we finally reach you, I will doff my uniform, mingle among them and I too will stretch out a hand for payment!”

“Who is that weakling pressing his way among you with a thin scream?” You point a finger at me. Head bent, I tiptoe over and whisper in your ear:

“Beloved, you know nothing of my powers, feebler than you thought. With what remains of my energy, I catch fire in your honor, produce a pale flame, almost transparent. A breath of air quivers over a blackened wick. See how much is absent in me, and how much of that I invest in your honor. If you strain to see me, if your ear comes nigh to listen to the weakness of my heart, I will feel your breath close at hand. You yourself will not know how close you came, how your head rested, curious, on my chest, and there you remained, and suddenly became mine, by crouching over me thus, you with your hair tickling my face.”

And perhaps you will not even notice me. In this furor, in the battle raging over you—there is scant prospect for weaknesses and silences. But one day, when you are weary of noise, I will appear to you as the lost possibility; nothing will be accomplished, a kind of dual nothingness: both a possibility and in the past. That will be my triumph. Others will stake their claim, I will surround you like air, you will be able to glide, I will show you a transparent thing or two, among them my love.

כרגע המצב ביש. אני יגע עד מות לאחר לילה של ציפיה. מסתבר שהקרב עליך עוד לא הוכרע. לא חדלו מסביב השאון והאבק, עובדים ללא לאות עבודת פרך: רוצים בך. כוחות אדירים מתגוששים על ליבך. חוצבים, מכים, מסתתים ללא הפוגה. לאיש כבר אין כוח, מחלקם כבר נשכחה המטרה, אבל הפטישים עולים ויורדים. כוחי אזל. אנשים רעננים באו לשלוט בעולם. הנה ארכין מעט את ראשי למטה והצידה, ואפנה את הדרך בתנועה חצי–גנדרנית, ג’סטה שאני עושה בחיוך–עלבון מעוקם, עם תנועת הבליעה של פיקת הגרגרת.

“אבל שמעי”, אני תופס בשרוולך לפתע כשאת עומדת לחלוף על פני, “הרי לא באמת חשבת שארפה! איך ארפה? עבודה יותר קשה היא סתימת הגולל על אהבתי מאשר חציבתה! אני כאן, לידך, סביבך, אמצא לי משרת משגיח על חציבת המנהרה אליך, בערמויות רבה אפטר מן העבודה הגופנית המפרכת, אהיה הממונה על הפועלים הרבים, וכשנגיע סוף סוף אליך, אז אפשוט את מדי המשגיח, ואטמע ביניהם ואפשוט גם אני את ידי לשכר!”

“מיהו המדולדל הנדחק ביניכם בקול צוחה דק?” את מורה באצבע לעברי. על בהונות, בראש מורכן, אני ניגש ולוחש באזנך:

“אהובתי, אינך מכירה את כוחותי, דלים משחשבת. בשארית האנרגיה שלי אני מתלקח לכבודך, מפיק אש חיורת, כמעט שקופה, קצת אויר רועד מעל לפתיל מפויח. ראי כמה אין בי, וכמה מתוך זה אני משקיע לכבודך. ככל שתתאמצי לראות אותי, ככל שתקרבי אזנך להאזין לחולשת ליבי, אחוש מקרוב את הבל נשימתך. את עצמך לא תדעי איך התקרבת, איך רכן ראשך על חזי מתוך סקרנות, ושם נישארת, ולפתע נהיית שלי, בגהירה זו, את ושערך מדגדג את פני”. ואולי בכלל לא תבחיני בי. בהמולה הזאת, בקרב הניטש עליך – מעט סיכוי יש לחולשות ולדממות. אבל יום אחד, כשתקוצי ברעש, אופיע לך כאפשרות שהיתה; שום דבר לא ימומש, מין לא–כלום כפול: גם אפשרות, גם בעבר. זה יהיה ניצחוני: האחרים יתקעו יתד; אני אקיף אותך כמו אויר, תוכלי לדאות, אראה לך דבר שקוף או שניים, ביניהם אהבתי.

גהירתך על שפת הבור

תביני שלא אוכל לעשות דבר. אני הוא המוטל, המצפה, בתחתית הבור. וברגע הקצר שבין הנחת גופתי בעומק לבין כיסויה בשורת הלבנים, כשלא יחצוץ דבר בינינו, אז, אם תתקרבי אל שולי הבור, צופה בי מלמעלה, ינוח עלי לרגע צל ראשך וכתפיך. הנה מגעינו האחרון בעולם. ואם יאמרו, “הצל, הרי הצל הוא כל מה שאינך, הוא כל קרני האור הנחסמות בך!” אענה: “אין דבר, גם זה טוב, הלא צילך אינו אינות של מישהו אחר, זו האינות שלך!” אם יחלוף אז ענן ויסתיר את השמש, או אמות בחורף ולא יהיו צללים, די לי שתציצי בי. עם נוח עלי מבטך, קרני אור ישברו מגופתי העטופה שחורים – אף היא מין צל – וישאבו אל עיניך. במהירות רעננה אקפוץ אל תוך מוחך, צלופח כהה, אמצא בך משכן, אקננן בך, תחילה ברעדה קטנה, אחר–כך בשקט, צל קטן וצנוע. כך אהיה עד שאדהה. את תעשי תנועות כשתלכי משם, אדם חי מתנועע ומפרקיו זזים; זכרי את השרוע בתנוחה קפואה. הלא כך, לפחות, המתנתי לך גם בחיי.


מתוך: “מכתבי פרידה לאהובה“ / מאת חנוך לוין חדר המכונות של האהבה

התנוחה המפורסמת של האהבה: הראש מורכן, גיכוך נזעם–מתרפס על הפנים, .והגוף כמעט מקופל לשניים מחמת המכה האדירה שספגת בביטנך. וכך, שפוף, ציצית שערותיך כמעט שנוגעת ברצפה, אתה יורד בסולם למטה, אל חדר המכונות של האהבה: כאן מרגישים רע, האויר סמיך, מלא אדים קשים. כאן עובדים במשמרות רצופות, ימים ולילות, בפיח, במחנק ובזעה. לא תארנו לעצמינו שכל–כך קשה יהיה. במגזינים הראו לנו איים שלוים, זריחות ושקיעות מרהיבות. מה לי ולהם? אני שקוע עד צואר בעמלי המפרך. השאון מחריש אוזנים, הלא גם אם אצוח כאן בכל כוחי: “אני אוהב אותך!” – מי ישמע? עיני צורבות, יש לעמול בשפתיים חשוקות, להגיר זיעה. מזמן איני שואל: היכן אני? לאן אגיע?


כמעין תרועה נשמעת בתוכי, מזעזעת את ישותי, ומשהו מזדקף בי קוממיות, מוכן להלחם. כאדם קדמוני אני, או כאינדיאני משוח בצבעי קרב גסים, מנפנף בקרדום. נגד מי? איפה האויב? בתוכי, כמו בובה בתוך בובה, אלף אינדיאנים, כל אחד חיור יותר, משוח בפחות צבעים מזה החיצוני לו, עמידתו מהוססת יותר, עד שמגיעים לאינדיאני לבן מאד, שמא צהבהב, ישיש או ישישה מונגולית, ובתוכה ישישות נוספות, כבר מזמן לא מונגוליות, אדרבא, נעשות יותר ויותר בנות עמינו, ומגיעים לבסוף, בחלק הפנימי, לזקנה גיבנת, ובתוכה אלף זקנות הנעשות יותר ויותר ילדותיות, בובות לפנים מבובות של ילדים, אחד מבועת ממשנהו, עד שתגיע למרכז, שם הילד המבוהל והניכשל. אלפי בובות נאלצנו לקלף עד שהגענו לגרעין, ואף זה עדיין לא הגרעין ממש, הלא בתוך הילד הנישנק כבר אין דמות כלל, שם מפרפרת המהות של האימה, ידיעת הכשלון, ההנהון הבילתי–פוסק לנורא מכל. כשנגעתי בך, מצמיד אליך בחוזקה את מיצחי, הצלחתי לעצור את הרטט.

הצפייה לבואך

הנאה מוזרה אני מוצא בהקשתה פתאומית של הגב תוך שכיבת פרקדן ואמירה לעצמי: “כך, בדריכות זאת, באימוץ כל החושים, אני מחכה לך!” בתחילת הציפיה, כחודש לפי בואך המיוחל, אני מתוח ללא נשוא. אינני יודע אם תגיע פעם השעה, כל–כך רחוקה היא. כשעתיים לפני בואך יורדת עלי שלות–מה, ההישג כמטחוי– יד. אבל בהגיע חמש הדקות האחרונות, נראה שאני ניזרק שוב לאחור, שנות אור מפרידור בינינו; שניה אחר שניה של ציפיה לקול טפיפת עקביך – כל אלה גלקסיות שעלי לעבור. בעבודת פרך, תשוש ובלוי, כמי שהתכופף שנים על משוט בספינת עבדים, אני מגיע אל השעה היעודה. איזו אודיסאה! את היגיעה העצומה תוכלי לאמוד טוב יותר אם תיזכרי שהציפיה הבאה לבואך כבר מתחילה – ולמה נאמר מתחילה, נמשכת! – מתוך זו הקודמת.

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