Amitai Avi-Ram

Amitai Avi-Ram: On "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking"

The sea is an instance of the mythic type of the "death-mother," the obverse side of the mother as origin of life: "Naked came I out of my mother’s womb and naked shall I return" (Job 1:21). The crone is specifically represented as rocking the cradle, a powerful image of how the physical sense of rhythm is learned, nurtured, and encouraged by the mother even before speech is acquired. Who would know better about the loss of song and the death of rhythm in its literal, physical sense than the very being who first brought rhythm forth into the world for the child? The mother recognizes death for what it is and gives it a name which itself is a death and brings about the death of the poem, that is, the poem’s end.