For Jakow Trachtenberg

For Jakow Trachtenberg

The embers of bitterness did not burn in you.

The machinery of mathematics did not cease in you.

The days of hell did not rob you of all light.

The nights of death did not steal from you all life.

The mind, multiplied, multiplies. All around the world, little children, little people, images of those who were extinguished in the camps, amaze their elders, delight their parents, admonish our laziness. Wonder-children, minds like mercury, calculating with quicksilver.

Someone in the paper writes in a clear and debunking tone

Of our sentimental illusions and fond fears. The mind has

Nothing to fear from technology, he writes, citing the evidence;

The pocket calculator did not destroy arithmetical thinking

But enlivened it. Thus saith the evidence. I, though, think of Trachtenberg in the camp

Retreating into a palace of calculation, I think of his children, on stages, in schools,

All around the world, I think of it all and I think of what we have lost.

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