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Words’ Bodies (In Hebrew)

From: Gufei Milim, (Words’ Bodies), 1991

Words’ Bodies

I say tree, sap, leaves’ noise, wind’s dryness through
needles, earth in straw, a crumb from the furrows
I say piece of sky, running, until there,
I say road crushed cratered congealed
I say houses that were said already by a man in bricks in mortar
in a gesture of passing the trowel on the course in his
smile in the sun under the shadow of a flickering cloth,
say man wearing blue, explosion of compacted words running
in veins in the trembling of tendons, in a past remembered
in shuddering threads interwoven warp and woof in his
clothes, say man who is standing as a close explosion of
saying in the furrows’ center
I say furrows, say horizon, a car drives by, say a car glides
I say motion that says in a gliding tremble, horizon, horizon
Horizon and sky.

Translated from the Hebrew by David Shapiro with the author


The Animal

The Sabbath sank and caught the car by surprise
Until in our haste we had unpacked the trip’s bundles in the inn
And put the light on in a strange lamp
Suddenly disclosing to us down those cliffs the ocean carpet
We’ve done so many miles of sea and land
In order to recite in front of it Blessed be He who created the Creation
Blessed be He who wrought the great sea
And anyway since the sun has already sunk down
And early evening stretched under us like little lightnings fluttering
out into the shadows
We sat with our arms by our sides letting the distance spill out of them
And thus without our even noticing the animal slipped in between us
Pressing her furry glasses against the window-pane
Sliding towards us hands folded like an enchanted monkey
Like a hyena transmuted into a sheep
Soft and terrifying
Her name unknown suddenly
Waking the danger zone between us

Translated from the Hebrew by David Shapiro and the author


The Other Road

My father’s clothes are dragging along
in the car trunk.
Driving with me from the grocery store to
the University and back
uphill on the mountain road
Entering the rear-view
and into the subconscious
Mixing with the landscape he loved so much
Like another road, other, laid-out over
the face of the mountain
in herring-bone and design of a brown sports shirt
Humming to themselves a Hasidic tune
or poem in the style of Nekrassov
In the silence he dared to keep all his life.

Translated from the Hebrew by David Shapiro with the author