Last wave of darkness
First tremor of light
His face clouded by time
And I with all my strength clutching
At memory’s crumbs
Directing my heart to the place
I saw him leave
For the last time
That sorrow in his eyes
Turning his back on me
Climbing into the car
Releasing the brakes
And the shame breaking me
I left you one photo
Do not misunderstand
There is no hint of apples nor the snake
That garden is as pure as tears
This man has not a woman known.
I left you a photo
In which you see him
Posing a painful question
He was always sewing himself
The distance to the grave
He must pass
Until that malignant morning
Which left him
There are Flowers
Have you ever seen such beauty
In the trembling autumn breeze?
A golden field at twilight
Casting candles in the trees.
Have you ever seen such crimson
Crying out to distant towers?
A field of blood was there once,
Now a field of poppy flowers.
Don’t you pick, my child, there are flowers which
Appear, and then are gone,
There are flowers which forever
Live within a song.
Have you seen the ash there?
It’s a field of thorns, my son,
Abandoned all the summer,
Now the ploughing has begun.
Have you looked and seen how white, child,
This field of tears and pain?
Its tears have turned to stones,
Its stones to flowers again.
Don’t you pick, my child, there are flowers that
Appear, and then are gone,
There are flowers that forever
Live within a song.
And winter is near again. How will you manage?
Can you cross the wet boulevards and pass
The cold nights? This mist in my soul
Sometimes more heavy than gold and the earth
Breathing sorrow from the day it gathered
What I fear to call by name but
You know and the November rains pouring down
Without end. How I worried about the child, about
His not getting wet and look what is happening this year
To these the hands and to this the heart
Which so suddenly gave way
Like a Ballad
If a crown of thorns
Is what you fancy,
I’ll head for the wilderness
There to learn pain.
If you favor poems,
Hewn only in stone –
I’ll write on the cliffs
Until my strength wanes.
And then when we lie
With the sands, in the darkness,
And night and time cover
The book of deeds,
More beautiful than happiness or sorrow;
I guess he did love me
That man, indeed.
You who remined in the fire’s wake
Remember the touch of the final flash
In the waves of evening, the scorched thorns
In his eyes and the fading light
With his love turning into
And his heart a king
The heart of a deserted king
The little prince grows old
Perhaps this is it.
I’ve had my fill. Done
What I have done
No need to carry on.
I have given the words their due, love
Hers. And as for me?
I am become poet of the kingdom,
Where two reign by night and one by day.
In my sleep – I dream within me. By day –
The dream dies. Towards evening the king ascends
To light the lanterns
Hanging on a low cloud. And the flame, like life itself,
Sealed within the glass.
Mouth to mouth
We come and we go
And meet over the doorstep as if
On the edge of earth
We stand and we move on
And the darkness between us
Blindly pass black ice
From mouth to mouth.
The language in the land of Israel
My mother’s mouth is soft
Like the cry of guilt-feelings
Wild flesh between my mother’s lips
A trembling and moist wolf cub
In a woodland winter. She drops him
And gathers him up, nibbling
At his fur, purring whispers at his ear.
Wherever I go, whenever I run,
Whatever distance draws us apart, I knew
Her whispers would grow into guilt-feelings
Here in the land of Israel, the Hebrew tongue no longer
Takes her into account; the words fall
Tasteless from her lips
Her weakened tongue rolls a wheelchair in her hands
As she turns words
From Yiddish into Hebrew
Stones in a treacherous field. Scorpions
At their moist sides. They approach with yellow tongues
Guilt-feelings, hanging themselves on her tongue.
Israel Bar Kohav
A man sleeps
A man sleeps into bed
Like a carp without creasing the sheets,
Too humble and modest to be alive.
Man and mate in motions of hate
From the hate hanging in the room
You could sculp a child.
The garbage can man
Takes down the garbage can
From fear of his wife in the night,
Even if he escapes to the bathroom
To indulge his hands with soap the stench
Of the garbage rising from his soul
Will not leave him.
Doctors of dexterity
Easily remove the pus
Which we have nurtured for years.
In the garden of Maidens
In the garden, Maidens outwitting their beaus will
The beaus will grow into briefcase bearers,
Bearers of their own stretchers.
The heat wave passed
Leaving high thorns
Heaving the winds
Kindling in the trees
The chill of charcoal
Imprisoned within white dunes
The earth opens
For the possible intent
In descending order.
Half My Lust
Half my lust
Will rest in those
Who come after me to fill the squares.
I, For Example, Fear
I, for example, fear
Those who see in me
The ladder railing –
In thin light…
Like the revolving sword
My father protects me
From coming to the dust
The Words Fall
(The) words fall fast
(at any rate they do not last)
Except for this small stain
Thank you for reading my book!
If you enjoyed it, you might also want to read:
“גם באיל הנמלט”
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