Two Poems

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Snowy roads at a crossroads with trees. Photo: Daniel Ebneter/Flickr
Photo: Daniel Ebneter/Flickr

Crossroads

All winter I didn’t write a poem, and I didn’t remember
even one dream that I dreamt. I left a house
and a wife, rented an apartment, and everything I needed
I found discarded along one road or another: bed,
table, shelves, refrigerator. It’s possible to say
that this was a wonder, an act of angels, as I stood
at a crossroads. It’s also possible not to think about it
too much. I cannot know a thing about
life’s questions, or to estimate what I found and how much
I lost. But all that winter I didn’t write a
poem, and I didn’t remember even one dream that I dreamt.

 

Simple Thing

There is no simple thing – from olive branches
do not make clubs. There is
no simple thing at all – from discarded stones
do not build a wall. There is no clarity in ease. Where
the house stood there is a little mound of dust,
and from the dust we came, as they say. It is no simple thing
to walk in another’s shoes.
But sometimes it seems that you
truly remember: the sheep,
the mosque,
the well.

Translations from the Hebrew
By Kevin Haworth

Eli Eliahu (b. 1969) is an Israeli poet based out of Ramat Gan. He has published two highly praised books in Hebrew, I, and Not an Angel (2008) and City and Fears (2011). He is the recipient of the 2014 Levi Eshkol Prime Minister’s Poetry Prize. Aside from writing poetry, he writes for Haaretz on poetry and culture. Most of his work has not been translated into English.

Kevin Haworth is the author of four books, including the essay collection Famous Drownings in Literary History. The director of the low-residency MFA program at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, he is at work on Rutu Modan: War, Love, and Secrets, a study of Israel’s leading graphic novelist.

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