Friday, June 03, 2011

Suddenly Last Supper...

This famous Untitled piece by Adi Nes, recently on display at the Israel Museum, cheekily references Da Vinci's 'The Last Supper.' Here, secular Israeli soldiers eat in an IDF cafeteria, and if this turns out to be their last meal, there is no real sense of their impending deaths. (We can't quite discern the feelings of the po-faced chap dead centre.) A New York art blogger, KMK mused that Nes's image evokes 'The Silver Platter', a poem by Nathan Alterman, posted below.

Personally, I prefer the pop icon Last Supper, with Marilyn as Jesus and Clark Gable as her Judas Iscariot, which is often on display in a gallery window on King David street and reproduced on posters everywhere. In fact, there are myriad commercial permutations of this rather lame idea, ranging from Lego brick renditions to The Last Happy Meal!

The Silver Platter

by Nathan Alterman
(Translated from the Hebrew by David P. Stern)

...And the land will grow still
Crimson skies dimming, misting
Slowly paling again
Over smoking frontiers

As the nation stands up
Torn at heart but existing
To receive its first wonder
In two thousand years

As the moment draws near
It will rise, darkness facing
Stand straight in the moonlight
In terror and joy

...When across from it step out
Towards it slowly pacing
In plain sight of all
A young girl and a boy

Dressed in battle gear, dirty
Shoes heavy with grime
On the path they will climb up
While their lips remain sealed

To change garb, to wipe brow
They have not yet found time
Still bone weary from days
And from nights in the field

Full of endless fatigue
And all drained of emotion
Yet the dew of their youth
Is still seen on their head

Thus like statues they stand
Stiff and still with no motion
And no sign that will show
If they live or are dead

Then a nation in tears
And amazed at this matter
Will ask: who are you?
And the two will then say

With soft voice: We--
Are the silver platter
On which the Jews' state
Was presented today

Then they fall back in darkness
As the dazed nation looks
And the rest can be found
In the history books.

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