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Poems by Herzl Hakak

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Herzl Hakak Three poems


Till Anguish, Till Kinship

by Herzl Hakak

Translation  Schulamith Chava Halevy


Women dream with open eyes

with nails extract love from

blind earth


There is a suppressed cry in the world, which ignites deserts

which shrouds thirsty eyelids with pain

wet and deaf


It is you, naked upon brown grass

green with beauty whispering

your flame spreads, conquers

worlds and climates


There is a door-to-door whisper in the world, yearning

without respite, sex aching with moisture

beloveds abandoned to sorrow

dreaming of identity, of kinship



When Everything was a Child

Poem by Herzl Hakak

Translated by Schulamith Chava Halevy


People wander in the streets.  Try to rend

sleep.  Mend life in their being. All ready

shirts laundered.  Something in the vantage point

from which their life-story was written

starts to beat.  Touches a line.

Perhaps I am with them.

Perhaps this is the story of a People.


When everything was a child, perhaps he had dreams

intended to fulfil, and parts to erase.   When the mature

teller materialized, the mountain was smoking.  It was hard to breathe

in the heat of the torches.  The lengthy purification.  I sought there

parts of me that threatened to disappear.  Breaths from my

past.  I wandered with them perhaps to hold,

as if seeking in them

another whole. Beyond the fragmentary. The incidental.


Now I come before them, before their libraries

The stars drained of their strength

in the world, bereft of heaven.

How did their skies turn into ice-water

their yearned-for fields to strangers?

The returning boy is looking for me now and I

Need and bleed.  With them, stained. Their heart is no longer

turned to me

as they go.


There is a teller among them who binds pages into a book.  In the bushes

A child prays to me.  What kind of poetry do you wish?

My life is torn along the



My Mother’s Magic

By Herzl Hakak

Translation by Schulamith C. Halevy


She has nothing but her life.

Seeds of light embedded between rows

Singular enchantment

Ours are lives she knew to shape

as if from flour.  As though everything was ground

grain by grain

in the millstone


While all the women sat upon stone steps

toying with their fans

glancing in any direction

they beheld a reticent glow upon her forehead

My mother kneaded her life, and ours

never losing sight nor sorrow of the maiden field


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