Poets Walk: a stone also hears

Poets Walk: "a stone also hears"

Location on Poets Walk Map: 95

As Long as We Are Not Alone by Israel Emiot

translated by Leah Zazulyer

In 1961 the American George Smith

discovered that musical sounds

promote the growth of plants.

As long as we are not alone,

as long as we have a partner.

Perhaps a stone also hears;

we shall rejoice,

we shall rejoice;

there is so much silence in space

between us and God,

only a bird sometimes sings.

What is the worth of a bird

compared to the silence of God?

What worth has the city's faint noise

in the cosmos?

And see, the plants hear;

perhaps the stone also hears?

We shall rejoice.

We shall rejoice.


"A stone also hears" comes from the Yiddish saying, "As alone as a stone." There is also a Yiddish folk song that includes the line, "a stone can cry without tears."

For the Yiddish of this poem, see Before You Extinguish Me, by Israel Emiot, p.24, 1966, N.Y. Knight Printing Co.

Published in this translation by Leah Zazulyer--

Visions International, 7/1996, #52.

Viveca Smith Publishing, 2004.

Used by permission of the translator.