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|A Letter of Recommendation|
|by P. G. R. Nair|
We have heard this silly question bombarded on us in our childhood by all the folks and relatives we encounter - 'Who do you love more, your father or mother?' Till this day, I have no hesitation to admit that I loved my father a bit more. This is not due to the specific fact that my mother had to board the boat of Charon when I was eighteen. When she was alive, she was overly concerned and protective about me and worried whether I would become a spoilt kid. My father, on the other hand, had a broader understanding of the destiny of his progeny and always supported my natural growth and my habit of do and learn in both good and bad. This instilled courage, confidence and optimism in me. A father is one who stands beside you and pulls you up in your ascent and descent.
Quite recently, I was reading a collected poetry of Yehuda Amichai, the greatest Israeli poet of last century. He died of cancer in 2000, at 76. He was worthy of winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. But being a Jew, as far as the Scandinavian Judges were concerned, he came from the wrong side of the stockade.
The above poem resonates with warmth, nostalgia and reverence for his dead father. It deeply conveys his sacred passion, unabashed feeling and tenderness. One has the feeling that, for Amichai, the road to childhood is still open.
In this poem, Amichai visits not just his father's grave side, but all those buried with him in a single row, a group of people yoked together by death, "his life's graduation class". What surprises us is the total faith and confidence Amichai has in the mutual ongoing love that persists between his father and him ("My father still loves me, and I / Love him always, so I don't weep.") and the way the poem invokes the genuine human sadness of the cemetery itself. Amichai's feeling extends to embrace the feeling of others ("I have lit a weeping in my eyes"). He concludes with the paternal feeling of a father for someone's child.
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