translated by Lisa Katz
Two strands of barbed wire stand in the foreground against a backdrop of yellowish clouds in a wine-dark sky

Photo: Ath-Har Saeed / Flickr



I play on the water.

It’s not completely necessary or required, but
things flow under the trees
like a gentle melody. Day unto day
uttereth more love.

I play on the water on numerous keys,
it’s not completely necessary,
there are no rules. But
I like it and so I set my toes down
on this tender world and play hard

on the surface of the water,
my body a grand piano. Huge. Solid.

And I allow the pain to exit through all my fingers.
And purify bad intentions far and near.
And my crimes approach merrily. Innocents.

When I play, I am the pianist, an additional
melody on the surface of the water –
and another butterfly, and this is also me –
may pass over barbed wire in breathtaking flight.
In an abundance of colors.

Translation from the Hebrew
By Lisa Katz

Photo by Pieter van der Meer

Admiel Kosman is the author of nine books of poetry and a bilingual Hebrew-English selection, and five academic books on Talmud and Midrash, two of which have appeared in English. He teaches religious studies at Potsdam University and is academic director of the Geiger Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin.

Photo by Natasha Sajé

Lisa Katz, editor of the Israeli pages of the Poetry International Rotterdam Web, was translator in residence at the University of Iowa in fall 2017.