17 August 2014

Meanwhile in Ein Karem the doves are coloured white

Typogram and translation by Ornan Rotem.  


by Rachel Shihor

                        I have spent my entire life at the Scottish Convent and I
have been musing over the convent in Ein Karem. Here we
heat water by shoving mouldy logs into an overhead stove
that takes up most of the space of the bathroom, and the
taps are narrow and they heat up in such a way that you
cannot touch them without slightly scalding yourself,
and the cloisters and narrow, and the cells are rectangular,
and in the dining room the carpet is frazzled and stained,
and the flowers are slightly withered, since they are not
drowned by the rays of sunlight that penetrate the room
obliquely as the day nears its end, and days turn to night
so quickly that the loss of light is barely noticeable, and the
dogs dribble, and the grape harvest is never satisfying, and
all the tools are rusty, and the main water valve has been
in want of repair for ages.
      Meanwhile in Ein Karem the doves are coloured white
and they are weightless, and the storks sojourn on the
pavilion roofs as they make their way south, and the smoke
coming out of the heating chimneys is bluish, with grey
only on the rum. And the pancakes are wafer thin, and
the prayer books are not stained, and Mother Superior
and her assistant wear fresh collars every morning, and
unhurriedly the evenings descend, and come to a close
when Sister Wanda, after putting her dolls to sleep, plays
short piano sonatas that extend over the whole valley and
then beyond, over the lowly hills finally reaching us.

This cloister-shaped typogram is balanced on the same letter,
the terminal n [the long red and black L-shapes] but given
the direction of the text, they end up being presented horizontally
and as a mirror image of one another.  The first n appears in Ein Karem,
the name of an ancient village near Jerusalem that is now a
neighborhood in the city.  Ein Karem means 'Spring of the Vineyard'. 
The other n is in lavan (white).

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