Even a Fist Was Once an Open Palm

SATB a cappella

A powerful setting of Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai's plea for peace. Opening with the word "remember" arising out of a sea of voices, this evocative work calls on us to return to the openness which makes trust possible.

Winner of the Craig and Janet Swan Composer Prize, and Recipient of Highest Honors in the Waging Peace through Singing Project.


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Winner, Craig and Janet Swan Composer Prize - Top Honors, Waging Peace Through Singing Project


University of Minnesota Chamber Singers; Thomas Lancaster, conductor. Minneapolis, MN


"Several pieces stand out among those collected here, but her setting of poet Yehuda Amichai's Even a Fist was Once an Open Palm is particularly potent and makes one sit up and take notice." David N. Lewis, All Music Guide

Text Author or Source: 
Yehuda Amichai

"Even a Fist Was Once an Open Palm"
from the long poem "Anniversaries of War"
Poem by Yehuda Amichai

Remember: even the departure to terrible battles
passes by gardens and windows
and children playing, a dog barking.

Remind the fallen fruit
of its leaves and branches,
remind the sharp thorns
how soft and green they were in springtime,
and do not forget,
even a fist
was once an open palm and fingers.

From "Even a Fist Was Once an Open Palm and Fingers" © 1991 by Harper Perennial.
Translated by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav.
Reprinted by permission of Hana Amichai.