Blesok no. 22, August-September, 2001
to Mario Luzi
The old old poet climbs onto the stage
and the leopard's back tenses in the dark.
I, the listener, do not know
whether I shall hunt or be devoured – my eyes on the old
old man around whom time is drafting a circle
that even the yellow Muse, with her ankle decked
in bells, does not cross only stretches a finger
to draw back the heavy curtain covering half
his face. From behind, death (I think) transparently
approaches bearing on its back sheaves of gold -
to feed the old old poet cold
and shiny bread.
The leopard folds back his paws. His talons etch in my face
lines white with astonishment. The beast leaps
and throws off a burning star to quiver in my lap
death and the poet smile and the great beast
lets go, lets me alone.
In the dark I embrace myself among the animals
that were placed in the water and the grass before
they were given names.
The old old poet death and the leopard take
the fire and vanish in the light.
How shall we stay alive? Behind the passion fear behind
the despair love -
for a white and throbbing moment I was the baby
of the elements. And I wept first.
Translated by: Vivian Eden
The Smooth Boys
The Smooth Boys who would cross our lives
with their song – had not yet been conceived.
Earth had not unsheathed them
like slender rain daffodils. All night
we stood on the terrace observing the hill
our faces agape as stone-lions' jaws
to cheer at the instsnt transformation of matter,
to deliver ourselves
from time-ridden masters.
We fell asleep.
In the midst of our assurance came the changes
leaving no trace on the glag-stones which glowed
with dew, robbing us
of the endearments
infusing us with monkeys'wild blood.
Blind and proud in the morning
we ore out all the rain daffodils, a moment before
the singing faces would burst forth within them.
A moment before the wonderous stranger
would change our lives.
Translated by: Irit Sela
An afternoon sleep carries us
aboard the barge, children fleeing
from the giants of heat and boredom
to a blue shore upon whose bank
walk the dead. Their faces creeping close like a cat
inquire what we have left behind
and whether we've already been betrayed.
Gagged with longing we grow bold
and attempt to grab their hand, have them lean into us
to see how high our love in the hollows of their vanished forms.
They slink away, sly as the shadow taken for water in the distance,
and blow into dust in the face of our wanting
A wave hurls us into waking, pale and poor
we know that someone has fed us from his palm,
not having seen his face, not having sated our hunger.
Translated by: Amalia Ziv