Kinah 29: There Are No Words, Only Tears
I said, “Turn away from me,
while I express my bitterness with weeping.”
I will soothe the bitterness of my soul and spirit by crying
with those who are prepared to arouse their lament.
We, who cannot find words to soothe our bitterness, turn to weeping with others who can share our lament. Who can find words to describe the indescribable?
“I’ve written that my model of a writing style was the short end-of-the-week report, and to a certain extent this is true. I was struck by a sentence attributed to fermi, who also found it boring to write composition in liceo. The only composition he would have written gladly would have been: describe a two-lira coin. Something like that happens to me: When I have to describe a two-lira coin, I’m quite successful. If I must describe something indefinite, for example a human personality, I’m less successful.” Primo Levi – Dialogo, Page 60
One of the greatest writers of the Holocaust, the author of the powerful “The Periodic Table,” could only find the words to describe a “two-lira” coin; a definite moment in time, something specific. There are no words to describe his experiences. They remained churning inside without release until his death by suicide.
The author of this Kinah seeks to give voice to those stormy emotions through tears and weeping. He wants to share his cry with us; we, who are prepared to arouse our own lament.
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