Adva Magal Cohen

Adva Magal Cohen

Adva Magal Cohen (born 65) lives in Jerusalem, graduated in film studies, researches the beginnings of film documentation, creates and lectures. Magal Cohen curated the cinema exhibition “Cinema Jerusalem”, which deals with the beginning of the cinematic expression of the city of Jerusalem.

All Summer I Searched for a Jay's Feather

The poems below are from the book: “All Summer I Searched for Jay’s Feather”. Magal Cohen’s poems interweave observations of ephemeral everyday life, a search for beauty in the outskirts of events, in the soft movements of life. The writer returns to places where she lived or to places where she passed, a journey to nature close to her life in the city, between time and place. A journey to death and separation, a journey that began with a broken love.



To this day I’ve kept the old photo
in front of the big mirror in Jaffa
that summer, before we went to the beach.
In it I saw what I wanted to see
what I wanted to remember, to trap.
I knew without knowing
it captured an invisible truth.

Only now, years later
many years later
I see the distance
the abyss.
You are erect and your gaze direct
I, behind the camera lens, am hidden
my hand resting on your shoulder
and deceptive and perfect light.

I’ve put the pretty rose you picked
this morning into the new gray vase.
A sharp thorn cut my flesh
and a large ant climbed its stem.

© Translated from Hebrew by Vivian Eden


“In the snow, it will collapse onto the parked cars,”
explained the neighbor, rocking a saw through the pine branch
until it fell mute onto the asphalt,
got dragged cones, branches, needles and all
to a bin on the corner of the street
and crushed into a garbage truck’s maw.

Sap never stopped dripping from the truncated
trunk. Sometimes on a bright winter’s day cats
sunbathe beside it, on torrid days
cooling themselves in its shade.
The recently repaved asphalt
Is strangling its roots.
Sometimes when I walk past,
My hand outstretched, I touch it.

© Translated from Hebrew by Vivian Eden


When the nurse came during the shiva
I told her everything that had happened, I needed
to keep telling everything again and again, she mentioned Enoch,
and she said softly: “… and he was not, for God took him,”
adding, “He always takes the best ones before their time.” And then
she left and others came into the living room to condole and Enoch was forgotten.
And again I told them everything that happened, how my father had phoned
me and said: “I’m not feeling well” and I replied –“We’ll drop by later,”
how his voice was fearful, how the doctor on the ward explained it was
the fear of death, that only someone close to it knows it.
We didn’t know. How lost we are.

At night, after everyone left, Enoch returned to my thoughts,
and the sound of his name was pleasant, and I rolled it on my lips
like we had scrambled “unformed and void” from Genesis
and laughed under the comforter. That is how my father walked before God
and now darkness upon the face of the deep.

© Translated from Hebrew by Vivian Eden

Published with the permission of Adva Magal Cohen