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A Bit of the Forbidden – Poems by Shulamit Sapir-Nevo, translated by Mel Rosenberg

by Shulamit Sapir-Nevo

Fairy Tale

 

What momma doesn’t know

is how much little red riding hood

likes wolves

meek forest creatures bore her to death

her basket brimming with sandwiches and wine

here comes the wolf

to ravish her

slowly.

1

End of July

 

What is this tremor grasping

the end of July

bowing the oak

even the moonlight has lost its way

What is this tremor passing by

and the wine trees swaying before me.

2

Water Man

 

My water man

passes among the sleeping corals

and rubs them with his palms

until he shows their true color

he knows no rest

until he uncovers

even the most modest among them

 

3

I send him

a school of curious fish

searching out his slippery organs

with tiny bites of amazement.

 

My water man knows no fear

even when the air is gone from his lungs

he makes love to me.

4

If you don’t ask me

 

If you don’t ask me to dance

I won’t show my colors

I won’t sprinkle gold

I will plunge,

In a shell –

A white pearl

Who has lost her voice at sea.

 

5

But

If you trap me

In your net of light

And ask me to dance for you

I will rise and dance

Till there is no water

Above.

6

Foxes

 

I don’t know a thing about foxes

I see the nails through their sweaty eyes

That’s why I left

But he persists

Bringing me a ripe moon

Under its light breaking into a dervish dance

Until he falls as dead

I don’t draw near

To hear his wakened heart

As I’ve already said

What do I know about foxes?

7

The Milky Way

 

The wine I gave up long ago

The music too

And the only light on in my room

Is the blue one

Every evening

Out of habit

Almost like the moon outside

And seeing it has about the same effect

I forgive

Provided that you are the night

Climbing the milky way.

8

Like the Sea

 

There is no yesterday

There is no tomorrow

I am sand that yearns

With all its goldness

To draw your head round,

Follow me.

So once more you will leave

And again you’ll return

To sing to my shells

As you break apart

And curl up like the sea.

9

You will bring unto me

All the treasures of your heart

Whisper and weep,

Rupture and rage

As you fill my vessel

With love.

10

Stations

 

I took the train.

We passed the rain station

The sand station

The sea station

But at the station

Of the heart

I got derailed.

11

Ayala

 

Ayala

or whatever

her voice is a woodland. Her eyes

does it matter what color will be the site of his temple.

She will wipe away stains

Of my love from his body

with soft lips of honey and salt.

 

Ayala

or whatever

will suddenly

take him away.

12

Even Though

 

Tonight

the sea has closed its eyes

and hungry seagulls lick its face

you promised when I awake this morning

I will find you here even though you are sated.

13

He Did Not Know

 

He did not know

That a woman loved him all night long

The next day a careful hand

Fluttered across his cheek

Her eyes full

Her voice rain

 

He did not know

That a woman loved him so

Each night

Tearing him from sleep

Gathering darkness from darkenss

And coming with a shout into his body.

14

Raincolors

 

When I fall asleep

in raincolors

and your hand passes raindrops

in my sleep

the sounds will bloom.

15

How

 

How will you manage alone

He asked at the door

I will be like the frozen sea

No streams coming or going

Within.

16

Gulls Made Love

 

Gulls made love

on the water

I heard the sea

pass gently

between them

even the surrounding sands

held off the while.

17

You

 

You are the melody

I am the words

You are the birds

I am the tree

You are the sea

I am the storm

You are the night flooding

A thousand stars

Into the depths of my body.

I am the moon in wonder at your window.

18

Talking to Paul

 

Twenty years on

I’d like to see

you again

wrapped in black robes

while the moist part

of the heart

turns to stone

and on it lies a heavy cross

instead of a woman.

19

You are

 

You are fleeing swallows

in your hand a stalk

I opened a green field

For you to rest, and your fear

turning wing to root.

20

Make Love

 

Make love to me for all the days

the days gone by the days with you

make love until I am revealed

in daylight, and in darkness too.

 

Make lent to me

for the abandoned, homeless

forlorn and trembling,

behold and bless

 

21

Make love to me

for the fertile and bare

do not divide

Leave nothing behind.

22

Go Slow

 

Shake the cold

Winter journey

From my wings

 

Warmheartedly

Collect me

 

Promise me the sun

Promise that you will pain me

 

No more.

23

A poem of longing

 

 

If you only knew

How great the pain

Each time you

don’t

touch me

24

Leave the Words now

 

Leave the words now, they are of no use

Only your hands can heal

Only your lips can sweeten

And if I cry

Let me

Caress your heart

Until I can feel.

25

I became

 

I became a music hall

A nectar field

A sea

A storm

Spring

 

If you go

I will magically melt

Into sand

26

Pirate

 

I insist on being a pirate

Bent on capturing a ship full of love

For myself.

27

Back to the coffee

 

Back to the cafe

Looking at the bottom of the cup.

Maybe the pool of grounds

Will still yield

Moments of sugar.

28

Trailposts

 

I waited for you

Without knowing the year we agreed to meet

I was a skipping bird

A butterfly flouting its colours

I was even a goldfish among the seastars

If you passed by you would have seen the

Light

Color

Water

That I shed off

Leaving you as trailposts.

29

Wanting to Touch Again

 

Wanting to touch again

for all those days

for the years I shall want.

I must preserve the light

within the cold glass lamp

to see it as a star without

touching

to see it, and knowing how once it would pass as a wick

and I the tallow

round.

30

Tranquil Now

 

Tranquil now

this boat which has landed

on the sands

and shrugged off all the water.

No longer touching the raging gales

nor gathering waves

into its body

ravaged by those wet hands pained

yet forgiving. Now

tranquil

sinking roots into

the sands.

31

He will dance with me

 

He will dance with me tonight

And I will forget that

It’s okay to be Cinderlla on a

Small island

to snatch a smile

From the face of the moon

And to hover barefoot

And beautiful.

32

After the rain

 

The rain fell there as well,

Sunflowery fields

Becoming cotton white.

The rain fell here as well and I,

What have I become,

After I was cotton

Softly rolled between your sea of fingers,

After I was laughing seeds.

33

Fallow

 

Fields free of furrows

grow what they will.

 
 
34

Poems by Shulamit Sapir-Nevo

translated by

Mel Rosenberg

35

More in the next pages!





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