Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Well, I'm Back (Ronny Someck, 2)

Hello, everyone! Sorry to be gone so long--my NEH Seminar on "Teaching the Pleasures of Poetry" got underway, and the next thing I knew, a week had passed! Hmmm... Maybe next time I should apply to teach something on Jewish Poetry? Jewish American Poetry? An institute, not a seminar--that way, I can invite everyone I want to hear teach. I'll keep you posted.

A lot of lovely things in my mailbox recently: an essay on Ruth from Alicia Ostriker, new poetry by various hands, and this, by Ronny Someck, from the June, 2004 issue of Moment, via my old friend Nan Cohen. Thanks, Nan!

Transparent

Tayyib studies literature at Tel Aviv University.
He has a knapsack with a grammar book and a composition
about Mahmoud Darwish.
The knapsack is transparent because this summer
with any other bag
in the X-ray eyes of all policemen he is marked
as hiding a bomb.
"Even this," his father says, "Inshallah,
will soon come out in the wash," and hangs on
the timeline clothes from which a stain
of shame has been rinsed. But
life has to go to the market and he goes with it
to buy olives in vernacular Arabic and write
poems about them in literary Arabic.
Meanwhile, Tayyib is entirely visible. The taut skin
on his arms does not hide the knots of muscle,
the flexible cartilage in the space between
the bones and the blood vessels in which
the swimmer of despair can crawl drunken
to the shore where the lifeguards have hung
a black flag.

Translated from Hebrew by Vivian Eden


And with that, as Sam says, "I'm back."

1 comment:

Rachel said...

What a gorgeous poem. Thank you for that.