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Poems about Israel







Limestone of the Mount Olivet, you indifferent-looking,

always wakeful watcher, who heard

the agonized cries of the Saviourin Getshemane,

did you grow pale because of that?

Are you therefore pale as the dead,

as the bones which rest in your caves?

Does the agony of the Creator of the world

linger still in you:

"Let this cup pass from me"?

Men build today their houses of your pale stone.

You know the agony by which

the hate of the unburnt lime was quenched,

o you unsleeping.






Sunrise in the desert of Judea

(Rom. 8:18-21)

In the pale morning light

the yellowish-grey line of the horizon.

The corroded hills of desert limestone

waste, dead and still.

The pale horizon begins to redden, then

it is dyed soft yellowish orange,

until from the bright glowing red horizon

the sun ascends solemnly,

turning the pale grey desert clay

into pure gold.








When the sun rises from the mists

of the Sinai mountains

and gleams above the silhouettes

of the black, red and purple mountains

you may witness

from the top of this Mount of Moses

the creation of the world

every morning.

"Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamaim we'et ha'arets"

It all happens again

when the sun rises

on the mountains of Sinai.








In the stifled silence of sun beaten salty stones

mysteries of the ancient sounds

In the depths of the dumb stones festive chant

In corroded lifeless ruins ancient

festive processions the scent of incense

O pale dumb forms dead!

What colourful processions step out of you

into the burning sun!

O dumb forms endlessly recording

all that goes on around!

What sleeping compressions of sound whisper in you

to the hot air!

O burning white crystals of the Salt Sea!

What secrets of the Holy Light in you

in the depths of the stifling hot darkness!






Desert, the speech of God

Sun, desert, waste and void

made my mind devoid in their likeness,

colourless as the limestone.

The wilderness of my mind: an empty page

for God to speak, write.

On the beach, in salty wind,

in the green murmur of the sea

my ears forgot the speech of men.

The glittering green main,

the majestic lines of the mountains

emptied my eyes of petty insignificancies.

Pages of the books forgotten;

Psalms, sung by David here (what acoustic!)

were one with the play of the light and shadows

on the mountains,

with the majestic dome of the night sky,

with the festive hymns of the sea, sky and earth.






Zichron Yaqov, Spring 1978

Flowers know of no war,

nor anemones neither the fragrant pines know of

brotherly hatred:

bombs hidden in handbags, buses blown by hand grenades,

young lives destroyed by shooting madly passersby,

lies spread by the news media;

they know of no ruins, but grow on them;

they hear not cries of the wounded,

but are brought to their hospital rooms.

Oranges hang in the shadows

of the deep green foliage of their trees;

small suns shining;

small prophets heralding the eternal day

which rose to Jacob at the river Jabboc.

Israel limps now in its land, it has fought

with God and men, it has overcome;

Israel: God fights.