Sabina Messeg

Sabina Messeg

Sabina Messeg grew up in Jaffa, wrote her first poem at the age of nine, in a cave in front of the Mediterranean. Since, married artist Aharon Messeg and together they live on their olive farm in Galilee. Her poetry derives mainly from ‘the sense of place’. She writes poetry for children too, under the pseudonym ADULA and translated poetry from English French and Norwegian. Among her books of poetry in translation are large selections of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. She is the pioneer of Eco-poetry in Israel, about which she writes a weekly column in the daily paper Haarez. About 30 books of her have appeared; including a large ‘selected poems’ titled: A place on earth in 2014. She is the recipient of several literary prizes and Honors and participates in international festivals and translation workshops.

 
Poems below from Sabina Messeg’s book: Clil – a farm in Galilee

 
Elementary facts

bone-white
boulders

heaped into fences

Clumps
of earth

plowed to allow wheat

 
Pines
pinned-down

To delineate The map
of my
being
here

upon firm earth
under unstable skies

And the olives —
Ripening patiently beneath
the silver
leaves

in sun

in rain

in front of my eyes —

 
The oil
That might anoint
a king
But lets me
Dip
In
it
black bread

White onion causing tears

 
Narrow horizon

A hundred meters from me to the horizon

Five rows of olive trees,

a mild accent all brush

And then the sky
as in a children’s drawing.

All things are plain and closs at hand,
almost no need to guess:
What’s there?
What lies beyond?
Why,
What
or who
am I?

 
I dive into the stillness
As one dives into a water…
I’m developing
Gills

 
Carob

The wind’s hand dishevels the
Locks of the much loved
Carob

then loosens
the seeds of scent

To impregnate the air

 
*

The scent of the carob
is embarrassing. Not fit
to be sniffed in company

but
on your own —

the stony field are tossed warm beds
the olive plants foetuses
and in a while

the water will brake

and there will be an opening
of two… three… five fingers

to the bay of Acre

 
Carob

He is a priest
the twisted old carob

Perched over
the backyard board-table
as if it was
an altar,

Keeper
of the
permanent shade –

the local
Holy Fire.

 
Days of the Bible

The Days of the Bible

And today’s scorching heat

walk hand in hand
along the dirt road
towards the
Bay of Acre

Stopping to sit in the shade of a niche
in the
sand-stone ramparts

 
sweetening their day

with the sugar
of brides

coming to fling
their
white flag

 
over the d a r k e n i n g   s e a

 
And there was the sea

And there was the sea,

there always was the sea,

the Sea of Seas,

my sea since time immemorial,

that one day had made to drown me,

that innumerable days

— saved my life.

 
kenyon

if poems
could flood rivers
with water
that rushes
from
The Fort
of Yehiam
to the M e d i t e r a n e a n

 
if poems could
uncover springs

release pools jammed
with old driftwood

stick stones
into the hearts of oaks –

 
the books
would not hold them

the books would go
back
to
roots

dissolving into
wood-dough

imbibing
in the mould

among the stings of acorns
and the velvet of moss.

 
so why do I keep this
vigil
in nature’s
subconscious?

 
Why do I stay put
shivering (from fright or from chill?)
in wait for
a new
pearl
to collect

on the grain of perpetual
itch?

 
Spring

there is no exact way to measure
how strong the flowering

but burns
have their degrees

and there are degrees of earthquakes —

here
the Richter scale
and Jacob’s ladder
begin
in one and the same stone.

 
All poems on this post: © Sabina Messeg
Published with the permission of Sabina Messeg