Gili Haimovich is an internationally published poet and translator. She has published the chapbook Living on a Blank Page (Blue Angel Press, 2008) and five volumes of poetry in Hebrew. Her sixth book titled Lending Lights is forthcoming later this year (Iton 77 Publishing House).
Her work appears or forthcoming in Poetry International, International Poetry Review, Poem – International English Language Quarterly, LRC – Literary Review of Canada, Asymptote, Recours au Poème (with translations to French), Poetry Repair, Blue Lyra, Bakery, TOK1: Writing the New Toronto, Ezra Magazine, Deep Water, Circumference, Lilith, and main Israeli literary journals. Gili works as a writing-focused arts therapist, and educator.
you’re my wall,
you’re my Wailing Wall,
not the one in Jerusalem, but here in our home,
built on my heart.
This is the happiness you’re capable of bringing me,
being a place to cry.
This poem is a note
I’m hiding inside you,
pleading to have more than you
to be familiar with.
This poem is a prayer
that the note will be found and heard
by someone other than yourself.
Translated from Hebrew by the author, from her book, Lint Season, Pardes Publishers, 2011
אַתָּה הַכֹּתֶל שֶׁלִּי
כֹּתֶל הַדְּמָעוֹת שֶׁלִּי
וְאַתָּה בִּכְלָל לֹא בַּמַּעֲרָב
אֶלָּא פֹּה בַּבַּיִת,
עוֹמֵד לִי עַל הַלֵּב.
זֹאת הַשִּׂמְחָה שֶׁאַתָּה מֵבִיא לִי
הַשִּׁיר הַזֶּה הוּא פֶּתֶק
שֶׁאֲנִי מַטְמִינָה בְּךָ
מַפְצִירָה שֶׁיִּהְיֶה לִי יוֹתֵר מֵאוֹתְךָ,
מִתְפַּלֶּלֶת שֶׁהַפֶּתֶק יִמָּצֵא
עַל יְדֵי מִישֶׁהוּ שֶׁהוּא לֹא אַתָּה.
The sidewalks are crooked
from the trees’ roots
concealed beneath them.
The fruits on the trees look like bird droppings
and only the birds can eat them.
Soon it’ll rain,
the dark fruits will give the sidewalks a shiner.
Those who walk without hanging onto a stroller,
may not slip it as easily,
yet won’t be able to maneuver among the squashy obstacles.
We’re not like the trees.
We talk about everything.
Between sleep to slip we slide.
Suspended on a slip of the tongue
that becomes a beak.
Gazelles Crossing the Road in Nes Ziona
to put a sign warning of gazelles passing here,
here in Nes Ziona,
one of the smallest towns in Zion,
desert like Zion,
In Hebrew, Nes Ziona means the miracle of Zion.
No doubt it would take a miracle to see gazelles here.
Yet the signs are here;
the hope a noble delicate creature can cross these roads
where drafted men drive on to wars
that orchards cradle with their branches
that soaring hands of foreign workers pick
to ensure the faint winter will bring fruits.
Here, where children climb up the iris’s hill on the weekends
and run down again to shelters, every now and then, when a siren goes off.
And this one, its roots are showing.
All ragged and murky it’s exposed
in a play
When children step on it,
bare feet and intentions,
is the tree cringing?
Is its uncovered roots quivering
to the touch of more than air, less than soil?
Who then holds who?
Is it the tree holding its ground?
Or maybe it’s the earth attempting
to contain the tree’s branching?
We don’t call our relationship a love-hate one
and yet, it may seem as if
in between them.
We can put one child of ours on each side of the wooden plank.
Don’t let me be the one who is on the side that totters.
Or can we, stand indifferent,
like this evergreen tree,
(its top is never murky),
that stands like it can wait for rain.
And keep on waiting,
without even being thankful when it finally arrives.
We both know,
the teeter-totter is level only when it’s down.
You and I, we can’t tell,
how much living is there, still, in its nervous system,
in these narrow coarse edges
From the Boom to the Bang
From the land of milk, honey and hominess
To the land of maple syrup, leisure and weather.
From the land of stones and steel
To the land of trees and water.
From the promised land
To the permanent residence state.
From the land of fresh oranges in the winter and fresh grapes in the summer
To the land of all year long oranges and grapes
That ripens on their way from California and Morocco.
Even the fruits here are newcomers.
From the land of rolling booms in the streets
To the land of rolling thunders in the sky.
From the land where people are killed in the streets
To the land where people get shot in the streets.
I can get caught in the middle,
Middle East downtown Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Rishon le Zion,
Or downtown North America, Toronto.
From the land of the boom
To the land of the bang
I can get killed.
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All poems on this post: © Gili Haimovich
Published with the permission of Gili Haimovich