One day I couldn't get a spark going as I read.
Months later it was all there, or I finally was.
This is the beauty given from poetry. Unlike today's new world, it isn't a flick of a switch.
This man writes beautifully and big about the biggest and smallest ideas, concerns, walk of the day. Peter Cole translations champion each poem with just the right verve, and the publisher, once again New Directions, gives it to us.
Aharon Shabtai was married to the scholar and activist Tanya Reinhart until her passing in 2007.
These are love poems to mother, lover, country.
..........................for Tali Fahima
People got used to lies
as though to bread.
for the umpteenth time
the same old fabrication
and they'll race to gobble it up
like a pack of ducks.
The stupid cruelty
[ats itself on the back,
and looks, smiling, into the camera.
At the nursery they're selling orchids,
while within a bark's distance
millions of people are caged like beasts.
A young woman from the country's poor,
a certain courageous swallow,
let the voice of sonscience be heard
within the kingdom of baseness,
but the fist of power
grabbed her, too, by the hair,
and threw her into jail.
many collections of poems,
were printed in 2006
and set out on tables
during National Book Week.
I leaf through a few,
and on every page,
from page 1
to page 30,
to page 80
I see only
a single sentence:
Mothers and children
in Gaza are searching
for food in heaps of trash.
I'm a widower
and will stay a widower,
because I'm a widower
and my wife has gone away
and my wife is gone,
her table too
isn't her table
and her husband, well,
is not her husband
TANYA WAS GORGEOUS
"Tanya was gorgeous"
I tell Moishe
and he raises his head
over the bowl of bean soup
and just as he did ten years ago
he looks at me and says:
"Not everyone thinks so."
If our memory matters at all to you,
please, please, for the space
of a single year or more,
for ten years or twenty,
let it rest in a little oblivion
so that it might be draped
in the pure curtain of silence.
For fish in ponds as well
when it comes to water require freshness.
And you've pushed and pulled us
to the point of utter exhaustion.
Please, spare us at least for a little while
the hot air of your pronouncements.
Nationalist blather isn't
at the threshold of heaven.
For heaven's gates are open
and generous to all mankind,
and neither rabbis nor officers
nor those in positions of power
hold any sway over us there.
So shut up and let us hear on high
the sorrows of the Bedouin too.
The Filipina worker's weeping,
what the hungry
Indian in Bolivia's saying,
what song it is they're singing
on the Euphrates' banks.
If you've learned a thing from looking
at the mounds of our eyeglasses,
please take into account
the eyes of a boy of nine,
instead of making your pilgrimage
to the barbed-wire fences
where we were sent for extermination.
Because — enclosures intended for people,
so experience teaches,
gives rise to infectious disease.
War & Love, Love & War
(New Directions 2010)