you must wait outside the gate
YOU MUST WAIT OUTSIDE THE GATE
Everybody has a gate
assigned to him or her. Don't shove it
open, because "You must wait! "
is written clearly right above it.
Implicitly we know about
the gate and its three words, and spend
our time outside it, though we doubt
that waiting time will ever end.
Some people have been brave enough
to give up waiting. Boldly they
sometimes attempt to get a rough
idea of what is right to say
to that gatekeeper, who makes sure
the gate is always tightly shut.
Their hopes are false. "I must endure
my shell, " declares the clever nut,
"or I'll be eaten." The gate could
be seen as everybody's shell,
It makes us wait outside for good.
afraid that if we don't we'll go to hell.
Only those who're nuts obtain
the benefit that shells provide,
and many people go insane
thinking they can get inside
the shell just like the nuts, consumed
by passion which makes them attack
the shell, which leads them to be doomed
when they just like the shell are cracked.
Shoshana Olidort reviews Roger Kamenetz's "Burnt Books: Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav and Franz Kafka" ("The Gate and the Gatekeepers, " Forward,10/22/10) :
In Kafka's parable, "Before the Law, " a man seeking entry to the law through a doorway is forbidden from entering. He waits for many years, and just before his death he asks the gatekeeper why it is that nobody has tried to enter the doorway for so long. In response, the gatekeeper tells him: "Here no one else can gain entry, since this entrance was assigned only to you. I'm going now to close it." For Kafka, Kamenetz explains, "the gate becomes the obstacle." But Nachman saw all obstacles as signs from heaven, or divine challenges to be overcome or transformed; for him, the "the obstacle becomes the gate."
gershon hepner's Other Poems
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