Back Next A Passover Table

The bearded actors
Came in and
Sat down at the Passover Table
And waited
For the others,
The unbearded ones
To come and sit down too.
Then the oldest, the grandfather,
Read with monotonous authority
The words that were wedded deeply
Into their books.
When this scene was finished
The bearded ones took off their beards
And clapped their hands
With the unbearded ones
And together they sang the service
In monkey fashion,
Spilling wine and words all over the place.
When all of this play acting was over
The audience got up and left
And the actors again peeked into the book.
They asked themselves
Was all of this a sublimated form of Nazi-
Or what was here,
Written down and read aloud.
A secret about consciousness itself?
They would have thought to answer this
For themselves,
But the director-playwrite
Was already preparing for them
Another play
For another part of the world.

Irwin R. Shaw - 1982