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God Has Pity On Kindergarten Children Analysis

Author: poem of Yehuda Amichai Type: poem Views: 7

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God has pity on kindergarten children,

He pities school children -- less.

But adults he pities not at all.

He abandons them,

And sometimes they have to crawl on all fours

In the scorching sand

To reach the dressing station,

Streaming with blood.

But perhaps

He will have pity on those who love truly

And take care of them

And shade them

Like a tree over the sleeper on the public bench.

Perhaps even we will spend on them

Our last pennies of kindness

Inherited from mother,

So that their own happiness will protect us

Now and on other days.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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My interpretation is that he borrowed a bit from Eastern philosophy...introducing a supposition that conflicts with traditional Abrahamic religious syllogisms.
From a Buddhist text, "The beauty of grace is that you receive blessing for no reason. As above. So below. Practice random acts of grace. Give to others for no reason. Offer kindness to those who are undeserving. Love those who no one else loves. Practice grace."
I would argue that the tree is analogous with grace.

| Posted on 2017-01-08 | by a guest

.: :.

I think the answer is much more simplistic. He shelters those who truly love children- not find true love. We find mercy through our children and hope to feel God's love through their experience. He speaks of the sacrificing nature of parenthood and spending inheritance or family legacies simply for the opportunity, perhaps even just the hope of an opportunity, to feel the true mercy and indulgence of the God of our childhood.

| Posted on 2014-08-19 | by a guest

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Your professor was right. Look at the evidence within the poem. The stanza breaks, the diction, the seeming randomness of images are all in place for specific reasons. Yehuda was commenting on the unique ability of humans to find solace in things that line up with their version of God. The comments aren't friendly either: they are dripping with blood at points-- but that doesn't stop them from giving everything they had (foolishly) for a glimmer of happiness. Also the fact that the speaker transitions from god to humans draws paralells that are suggestive of a God who gives only out of selfish motive.
Read Helen Vendler's "Poems, Poets, and Poetry" She's a New Critic (which is sometimes lacking in terms of explanatory power) but she knows her stuff. Any professor of poetry worth their salt has at least browsed this book.

| Posted on 2009-10-13 | by a guest

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I'm in a Modern Jewish Thought class at the moment and we're reading selected Amichai poems, one of which is 'God Has Pity on Kindergarten Children'. While my professor tried to force-feed her own interpretations of the poem, I have my own perceptions. In the section "God has pity...covered with blood" we see how God allocated his attention and mercy to humanity based on age. Many people claim that true innocence only exists within children and through innocence also exists an ignorance towards the world, most importantly its dangers. Since children are less aware of corruption and death and act without inhibitions their faith can only be deemed as underdeveloped and God must accompany them. As kids grow older and are able to control their God-given ability to reason, God becomes less of a merciful character, not to mean that he stops caring, but more so to invest his own faith in humanity to believe in him. If we were constantly pampered by God, there would be no evolution in faith and thus God would cease to be a religious icon, but rather a virtual *Continue* button that would tend to all our mistakes. Instead, we must understand our need for God and return to our innocence, "...must crawl on all fours...to reach the first aid station."
In the section that reads "But perhaps...a public bench" is where my professor and I saw things differently. Literally, this section reads that God will watch over those who have found true love and extend his mercy to only those. Analogically Amichai offers a parallel example to nature's ability to show care and comfort for humanity as a tree giving shade to an old man sleeping on a bench. My professor claimed that the shade of a tree is intermittent and only lasts as long as the direction of the sun can be blocked by said tree. Feeling that this interpretation was a little too farfetched and hollow (which I hope you do as well) I was under the impression that God offers his mercy and compassion to those who can find it within another. The image of a tree providing shade to a man on a bench is the mark of how the existence of God in one's life provides comfort from the harshness of life, or in this case a strong sun.
The last part of the poem reinforces this impression of Amichai's inclusion of nature to the poem by referencing "Mother", an allusion to Mother Earth. (I drew this conclusion based on the fact that the word was capitalized mid-sentence and the word mother in other poems is continuously spelt with a lower case 'm'). This last section also puts a nice, light twist end on a rather dark beginning of a poem that emulates progression through faith.
*I'm currently an English Lit major at Franklin & Marshall College with a minor in religious studies, undergrads make mistakes so please excuse mine if I made any. Any responses are more than welcome and I hope this helps.

| Posted on 2008-12-10 | by a guest

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